The surrounding area of Mt. Mayon is considered as a ‘no man’s land’.
ALBAY, Philippines — Jose Oera, a farmer in the province of Albay described his family’s present situation.
“Kasi papaano ang pamilya mo kung basta-basta ka lang lilipat doon, wala naman sila ibibigay na pang hanapbuhay magugutom pamilya mo, hindi ako aalis,” said the farmer.
(What will happen to our family if they will just relocate us. They won’t be giving us livelihood anyway, my family would starve. I’m not leaving.)
For more than 40 years now, Jose has been supporting his family through farming.
The soil around the volcano is loamy, which is ideal for planting vegetables.
Oera’s farm in the town of Guinobatan is covered by the extended 8-kilometer danger zone around Mt. Mayon.
However, they might face relocation once the Department of Environment and Natural Resources or DENR-Mines and Geosciences Bureau updated its geohazard map around the volcano.
Due to the huge amount of lava spewed by Mt. Mayon, the DENR sees possible changes in the direction of a lahar flow.
“Puwedeng makasira ito sa ating mga kabuhayan yung bahay or mismo yung buhay (It might destroy their livelihood, homes or even their very lives),” said DENR Region 5 Director Roberto Sheen.
The updated geohazard map is one of the bases of the government in deciding what activities should be conducted within the permanent danger zone of Mt. Mayon.
The surrounding area of Mt. Mayon is considered as a “no man’s land”.
However, many still farm and live here.
According to the president’s emissary to Albay Secretary Francis Tolentino, there are farmers who own lands with the title.
He explained that this is one of the matters that should be considered in case the government pushes through with relocating residents located in danger zones.
“Yun ba ay papalitan, babayaran para ma relocate sila? At saka i-consider rin natin na ang area na yun ay very fertile in terms of agriculture (Can they replace it, or pay for it so that they can be relocated? We should also consider the area if it is fertile in terms of agriculture),” said Mayon Volcano Crisis Committee chairman, Francis Tolentino.
According to the DENR, if the updated geohazard map will be followed, the government could save money since there would be no need to evacuate residents every time Mt. Mayon erupts. — Mon Jocson | UNTV News & Rescue