Thousands evacuated as Phivolcs raises alert level over Mayon

LEGAZPI CITY — More than 3,000 residents living inside Mt. Mayon’s 6-km radius permanent danger zone (PDZ) started evacuating as early as Saturday evening until Sunday morning as the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised the volcano’s alert level 1 to alert level 2 shortly after midnight Sunday.

Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara said there would be no exemption or extension of time for stubborn and defiant residents who would not go on voluntary evacuation.

In an advisory, Bichara reiterated the evacuation of residents inside and within the periphery of the 6-km PDZ.

“Strictly no farming and orchid picking inside the 6-km PDZ, residents within the slope of the volcano experiencing heavy ashfall should take precautionary measure against possible roof collapsed due to accumulated heavy ash and rain,” the advisory said.

Phivolcs resident volcanologist Ed Laguerta said the “no man’s land” zone should have long been free from any human activity.

For Sunday, Phivolcs recorded successive phreatic eruption at 8:49 a.m. Ashfall has been reported at the west and southwest slopes and another eruption at 10:50 a.m. that lasted for five minutes.

Another eruption occurred later around 11:43 a.m. – it lasted approximately 15 minutes based on seismic record.

LGUs with barangays within 6-km PDZ convened their respective Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Councils to discuss proactive actions to be taken by these local government units in case the situation escalates. Connie Calipay/