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DENR updated geohazard map around Mt. Mayon may possibly cause relocation of residents

by UNTV   |   Posted on Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

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

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Albay tourism thrives anew

by UNTV   |   Posted on Monday, February 19th, 2018

Legazpi, ALBAY — Even before the recent activities of Mt. Mayon, the volcano has been drawing attention from tourists.

Aside from its perfect cone shape that is seen in the morning, the nighttime fireworks display of the lava being spewed by the volcano is a sight to behold.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) Region 5 said the Albay tourism industry is thriving once again, particularly in Legazpi City, as it registered a ten percent increase in visitor arrivals since January.

“Marami talaga nag-bucket list ng Mayon Volcano to see, so we expect na mas dadami talaga ngayon ang curiosity (Many have included Mayon Volcano in their bucket list. So we expect curiosity over it to increase),” said DOT Region 5 director Benjamin Santiago.

Also pulling in visitors is the Cagsawa Ruins, a historical site of Barangay Cagsawa where more than 1,000 residents were buried alive when Mayon spewed lahar in 1814.

Tourists also flock to Lignon Hills where Mt. Mayon can be seen at close range.

Lignon Hills also offers many activities for tourists, such as the sky bike, where Mayon’s beauty can be seen in all its grandeur.

The Embarkadero de Legazpi, on the other hand, gives a full view of the volcano’s perfect cone shape from afar.

Tourists are always in awe of all of these beautiful attractions.

“Beautiful and amazing,” said Kim Tehyung, a Korean tourist.

“The mountain is so high the clouds are around there its good place to make a photo,” said Oh Yong Kun, one of the Korean tourists.

The DOT is confident that once the alert level warning in Albay is lowered, this will pave the way for other destination attractions to actively operate once again and will lead to a more a spiked up tourism industry. — Mon Jocson | UNTV News & Rescue

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PH to send 22 farmers to Papua New Guinea to do farming demo

by UNTV   |   Posted on Saturday, February 17th, 2018

The Department of Agriculture (DA) will send 22 farmers to Papua New Guinea next month.

MANILA, Philippines —The Department of Agriculture (DA) will send 22 farmers to Papua New Guinea next month.

According to Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, the farmers will help develop the 100-hectare rice demonstration farm in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

The farmers are from Ilocos and Iloilo. They will earn P25,000 monthly from the private firm that hired them.

On the 7th of March, Secretary Piñol is set to fly to Papua New Guinea to discuss an agreement that will allow Filipino businessmen to grow rice there.

The rice supply that would exceed the needs of Papua New Guinea can be purchased by the Philippines or be sold to other countries.

Papua New Guinea has 46 million hectares of land that can be used for rice production.

However, the country has a population of only 8 million.

The DA said the Philippines should search for other countries to source food from especially now that its population is growing. — UNTV News & Rescue

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‘Bigas ng Masa’ to be available in markets across the country

by UNTV   |   Posted on Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

“Bigas ng Masa” priced at P380 / 10 kilo being sold at Department of Agriculture (UNTV News)

MANILA, Philippines — 
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has launched the program “Bigas ng Masa” (Rice for the Masses).

Under this program, local rice farmers could sell high-quality rice at the agriculture office at just P38 per kilogram.

The rice from local farmers will be directly offered to the public so they could compete with commercial rice sellers.

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol explained that the prices of rice increase as its supply go through many middlemen.

The project will also be conducted across various areas in the country.

However, the group Bantay Bigas is not satisfied with the said program, arguing it will not give a long-term solution to the country’s problem with its rice supply.

“Wala rin siyang programa kung paano pa mas higit na makapag benta o masolusyunan itong artificial shortage (They have no program on how to sell more or how to address this artificial shortage),” said Bantay Bigas Spokesperson Cathy Estavillo. — UNTV News & Rescue

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