Bicol’s Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has placed all disaster response offices on “standby status” after Mayon Volcano’s alert level was raised from 1 (abnormal) to 2 (increasing unrest).
In a memorandum issued on Friday evening, Bicol DRRMC chairperson Claudio Yucot said the standby status is in preparation for any response to Mayon Volcano’s activities.
“Response assets should be on standby to support response activities of provincial, city, and municipal DRRMOs (Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Offices), especially chokepoints along the 6-km. radius of the permanent danger zone (PDZ),” Yucot said.
The memorandum also reminded the public to conduct preparedness and response measures.
“Entry into the 6-km. radius PDZ must be strictly avoided due to the increase (in) chances of sudden steam-driven or phreatic eruption and the hazards of rockfalls, avalanches, and ash burst at the summit area that may occur without warning,” the memorandum read.
People living in valleys and active river channels are also cautioned to remain vigilant against lahar in case of prolonged and heavy rainfall.
For its part, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines on Saturday issued another notice to airmen (NOTAM) advising them to avoid flying near Mount Mayon.
CAAP chief information officer and spokesperson Eric Apolonio said the agency has extended its advisory—effective 9 a.m. of Oct. 8 until 9 a.m. of Oct. 9—due to the volcano’s increasing unrest.
“With Mayon Volcano now on Alert Level 2, flights have been prohibited to operate 10,000 feet from the surface and advised to avoid flying close to the volcano’s summit as ash from the sudden phreatic eruption can be hazardous to aircraft,” CAAP spokesman Eric Apolonio said.
Based on the aerial survey conducted by Phivolcs, there was “current unrest driven by shallow magmatic processes that could eventually lead to phreatic eruptions or even precede hazardous magmatic eruptions.”
CAAP operates seven airports in the Bicol Region, namely Bulan Airport, Sorsogon Airport, Daet Airport, Masbate Airport, Naga Airport, Virac Airport, and Bicol International Airport.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda has requested the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to preposition resources such as relief supplies and other emergency support in light of the volcano’s heightened activity.
The Albay solon wrote to DSWD Secretary Erwin Tulfo Saturday, asking the government to prepare for extended evacuations and to mobilize
resources accordingly, once needed.
“While the risk remains completely manageable, may we request your team’s usual alertness and prepositioning of resources for possible mobilization should there be need for evacuation and relief,” Salceda wrote.
“As in the past, evacuation from Mayon activity can be protracted and may require extended support from the government. I am confident that the Department, under your leadership, is prepared for such eventuality, as it has been during the competently-led relief operations for communities affected by recent natural calamities,” he added.