300 families in Albay evacuated due to possible Ulysses-induced lahar flow

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 11, 2020   •   297

MANILA, Philippines — Around 300 families were evacuated in Guinobatan, Albay due to possible lahar flow that may be triggered by Typhoon Ulysses.

Families from Purok 6 and 7 of Barangay San Francisco in Guinobatan, Albay are currently staying at Mauraro National High School. Barangay San Francisco is among the areas heavily devastated by the lahar flow caused by Typhoon Rolly.

They were previously evacuated to Marcial O. Rañola Memory School during Typhoon Rolly but had to transfer to a different evacuation center after the area was also affected by lahar.

Several of the residents have been staying in evacuation centers for two weeks. One of the evacuees, Joan Berco, said she prefers to stay somewhere safe.

“Inilikas kami dito para maiwasan namin iyong tubig, tapos marami pang disgrasya sa amin doon kapag nandun kami (We were evacuated here to avoid the water and there will be more threat if we stayed at home),” she said.

The local government unit (LGU) assured there are enough relief goods for the families staying in evacuation centers. Meanwhile, residents in Camalig, Albay were also evacuated to safer facilities. AAC (with reports from Allan Manansala)

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DENR finds violations in 14 quarry operations in Albay

Marje Pelayo   •   November 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has found violations in 14 quarry operations in the province of Albay. 

This prompted the Department to suspend the operations of the said quarry sites located at the foot of Mount Mayon.

Among the notable violations is operating beyond the authorized area, according to DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones.

“Ang paglabag na nakita namin doon ay iyong nag-exceed doon sa kanilang allowable area at iyong mga iba naman mga expired permits (We found some violations such as exceeding beyond the allowable area while some still operate despite expired permit),” Leones said.

The official noted that the companies operating the quarry sites may face administrative cases and a fine of P50,000 per violation.

It is also possible that they may be permanently closed if proven to have a history of successive violations. 

Leones said these quarrying operations could have contributed to the damaging lahar flow in San Francisco, Guinobatan in Albay during the onslaught of Super Typhoon Rolly.

Hundreds of houses and properties were seen covered with lahar after the typhoon.

Leones stressed that affected residents may sue the companies for compensation for the damage they have caused. 

Around 100 quarry operations are now under investigation by the DENR and those that have been cleared of violations will be allowed to resume operation, Leones said.

Meanwhile, the Triple B — Build, Back, Better— Task Force formed by President Rodrigo Duterte is currently conducting post-typhoon assessment in areas damaged by the recent calamities.

The task force formed through Executive Order 120 is composed of different agencies led by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu.

Leones said the task force will meet on Friday (November 27) to discuss recommendations on how to rehabilitate the typhoon-ravaged areas specifically Cagayan, Isabela, Bicol and Marikina. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Mga naapektuhan ng bagyong Rolly sa Camalig, Albay umaapela ng ayuda

Robie de Guzman   •   November 5, 2020

Humihingi ng dagdag na ayuda ang ilang residente sa bayan ng Camalig, Albay na lubhang naapektuhan ng bagyong Rolly.

Ayon kay Camalig Mayor Carlos Irwin Baldo Jr., pagkain at materyales sa pagpapatayo ng bahay ang pangunahing hinihiling ng mga residente na nawalan ng mga bahay sa pagragasa ng lahar noong kasagsagan ng pananalasa ng bagyo.

Ang mga apektadong pamilya ay mula sa Purok 6 at 7 ng Barangay San Francisco sa bayan ng Guinobatan at Barangay Ilawod sa bayan ng Camalig.

Halos 100 pamilya ang nawalan ng bahay matapos itong sirain at tabunan ng makapal na buhangin at lahar.

“Kasi yung mga natanggalan ng bubong, yung totally damaged, talagang kailangan ng housing materials, initially yun,” ang pahayag ni Baldo.

“Yung tubig naman kasi restored na yun ng water district namin. Kahit papaano ay ginagawa na rin ng water district yung sa tubig. Pero kung may maglalagay ng pwedeng mag-filter ng tubig na pwedeng gamitin na maiinom ng ating mga residente welcome din po yun,” dagdag pa niya.

Nanawagan rin ang alkalde sa mga grupong nais magbigay ng tulong sa mga biktima ng kalamidad na makipag-ugnayan sa mga otoridad para sa kaayusan ng pamamahagi. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Allan Manansala)

DENR sends team to investigate lahar flow in Guinobatan, Albay

Marje Pelayo   •   November 5, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has ordered an investigation into the incident of lahar flow in Barangay San Francisco in Guinobatan, Albay which is being associated with quarry operations at the foot of Mount Mayon.

A team from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is on its way to the site to assess and delve into what caused the incident. 

President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the DENR and other concerned agencies to investigate the matter as residents blame the quarrying activities in the area for the lahar flow.

According to Environment Undersecretary Jones Leones, around 100 quarry operators are now under investigation. 

Some of them acquired their permits from the local government unit (LGU) while others are said to not have a permit to operate at all, the official noted.

The agency targets to complete its investigation and come up with a report within the next 15 days.

“Kasi ang nangyari doon, because of the heavy rains parang naging shallow ang riverbeds doon. Nagkaroon ngayon ng overflowing. Nag-flooding doon. Saka ang mga buhangin masyadong malakas kasi maraming naka-stock doon sa periphery ng bulkan [What happened there was the riverbeds became shallow due to the heavy rains. The river overflowed; thus, the flooding. And a large stock of sand at the periphery of the volcano came raging down],” Leones explained.

“So noong umulan talagang nagbagsakan ang mga buhangin, mga quarrying materials [So when it rained, the sand and other quarrying materials cascaded rapidly],” he added.

Leones stressed that any operator who will be proven to be guilty of negligence or violations may face administrative charges.

Affected residents may also claim for damages that cause them, the official added.

“Kung may napinsalang indibidwal on the basis of our findings pwede nilang magamit iyon para mag claim sila ng danyos or magkaroon ng criminal case sila against doon sa sinomang nakagawa ng pinsala sa kanila [If any individual was hurt or affected, on the basis of our findings, they could file for claims for the damages or they may file a criminal case against those that cause them damage],” Usec. Leones said.

According to Albay Governor Al Bichara, they will cooperate with the order of the President, but appealed that the investigation should be finished first before suspending the operations as the materials from the quarrying operations will be needed for the rehabilitation of damaged houses and establishments in the province.

“If they will stop quarrying, we will run out of aggregates for reconstruction, rehabilitation of our province, not only that of the region because most of the aggregates come from Albay,” the governor said in a statement.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) earlier noted that lahar or mudflow usually searches an alternative path on the slope of the volcano if the old one turns shallow.

This could also happen to other volcanoes like in Mt. Pinatubo, the agency warns. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

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