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

by UNTV News   |   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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Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo denies hand in Rep. Batocabe’s assassination

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, January 3rd, 2019

Daraga town Mayor Carlwyn Baldo denies orchestrating the assassination of AKO Bicol party-list Representative Rodel Batocabe.


ALBAY, Philippines — Incumbent Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo has denied allegations of masterminding the killing of AKO Bicol party-list Representative Rodel Batocabe.

Mayor Baldo asserted his innocence saying he is just being used as a ‘scapegoat’ while the true perpetrators are at large.

“I assert my innocence. Let us not forget that while I am being used as a convenient scapegoat, those who are truly responsible for the crime remain free and blameless,” Baldo said in a press conference on Thursday (January 3).

“I am an easy target but that does not make me guilty of the crime. I am already being persecuted in the courts of public opinion. I am a public servant, at ang gusto ko lang naman po ay magsilbi,” he added.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) tagged Baldo as the one who orchestrated the assassination of Congressman Batocabe, from planning to financing the crime by contracting former members of the military and even his alleged personal driver, offering them P5 million to execute the killing.

Two of the suspects were turned into witnesses and confessed that it was Mayor Baldo who planned everything since Rep. Batocabe announced his plan to rival the mayor in the 2019 elections.

Mayor Baldo in his statement offered his condolences to Cong. Batocabe’s family and the family of his aide, SPO1 Orlando Diaz.

“Patuloy akong nakikiramay sa pamilya Batocabe & Diaz sa kanilang kawalan. Kahit ako gusto ko rin malaman kung sino ang totoong may kagagawan sa krimen,” he said.

“But in our quest for justice, let us avoid committing injustice,” the embattled Mayor added.

Baldo along with six other suspects were facing charges of double murder and six counts of frustrated murder for the incident. — Marje Pelayo

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Comelec considers placing Daraga, Albay under its control

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, December 28th, 2018

Aerial shot of Mayon Volcano in Albay | UNTV Drone

MANILA, Philippines – Following the killing of Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) said it is considering to place the municipality of Daraga, Albay under its control.

COMELEC said that their statement came after local poll officials “recommended this course of action” in light of the assassination of Batocabe last December 22, as well as the two unidentified victims that were found dead in the same municipality a day after the congressman was killed.

“The biggest problem really is apart from the killing of Ako Bicol Rep Rodel Batocabe, may dalawa pang natagpuang patay the following day, unidentified pa iyong mga tao na iyon,” said Director James Jimenez.

Based on the rules of the poll body, COMELEC takes over the full control of a place if a place there is a history of- current- intense political rivalry among contending parties, as such rivalries could motivate people to engage in violent acts

 “The fact that the perpetrators are still at large has contributed to the atmosphere of fear and anxiety in the area. Ang concern ng ating local field officials is that it might lead to an increase in violence as it is there is already intense political rivalry in that area,” Jimenez added.

Jimenez also explained, if the COMELEC decides to place Daraga, Albay under its control, it will take effect on January 13, 2019 coinciding with the start of the election period

The COMELEC En Banc, however, may set the effectivity to any date which it deems appropriate.

 “Ang ibig sabihin ng COMELEC control is that COMELEC will take immediate and direct supervision and control over all national and local officials in Daraga, Albay. This includes exercising control and supervision over all law enforcement agencies, national and local. Literally, 100% take over iyan ng municipality na iyon,” Jimenez explained.

The poll body will also take into consideration reports and security assessments filed by the Philippine National Police (PNP) once they decide to implement the COMELEC control. – Aiko Miguel | UNTV News and Rescue


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Phivolcs monitors Mt. Mayon after minor emissions

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Mayon Volcano on a sunny weather

ALBAY, Philippines – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) is constantly monitoring the activity of Mt. Mayon following a series of minor ash emissions.

According to Senior Science Specialist Dr. Ed Laguerte, these activities cannot be equated into something alarming. It is just a result of the cooling off of magma inside the volcano following its latest eruption in January.

However, they are considered abnormal activity as far as Mt. Mayon is concerned.

“Sa geophysics kasi hindi gaano, walang masyadong ipinapakita ngayon, maliban doon sa mga gas output nito. Mga pailan-ilan tapos nagkakaroon ka ng ash emission tapos sa gas output nagrarange pa rin doon sa hindi pa rin normal kasi meron pa ngang nagdedegas na magma,” Laguerte explained.

The expert added that they have monitored a slight swelling in the upper slope of the volcano.

Still, it is not a reason to raise the current alert level 2 to level 3.

Meanwhile, Phivolcs is currently using a new equipment in monitoring volcanic activities in the country.

The agency is now using the Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIS) facility which is used to obtain an infrared spectrum of absorption or emission of a solid, liquid or gas. The facility, which was bought in Germany, is also expected to generate data regarding Mt. Mayon’s other gas emissions.

As for the recent activity of Mt. Mayon, the Phivolcs has recorded around nine volcanic quakes within 24 hours and about 1,377 tons of sulfur dioxide gas have been spewed from the period of November 30 to date – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Allan Manansala)

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