Press Releases

Salceda: 3-4 storms in July could compound Mayon risks with lahar; Albay solon thanks Marcos for continued support, urges national government to prepare for more evacuees outside traditional “danger zones”

June 29th, 2023

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district), in response to projections by the PAGASA that there will be 3 to 4 cyclones to hit the country this July, says that heavier rainfall “could exacerbate risks in Mayon, and will force us to evacuate communities in near lahar channels, in addition to the ones already in danger zones.”

Thus, the House tax panel chair says, “we respectfully request President Marcos’s continued support for Albay, and we thank him for the unwavering help he has already provided us.”

“In July, the average rainfall in Albay is 155.2mm, when the rest of the year, it is 112.53mm. Around 38% more rain. And, if the PAGASA projection takes place, we could see more. That compounds the risks Mayon poses.”

“Although, we might not need to evacuate those near lahar channels but are outside the designated 6-, 7-, or 8-kilometer danger zones for long periods, we might need to bring them to safety when a storm is impending, or there is heavy rain,” Salceda added.

“So, really what we are looking at is extended evacuation for those in danger zones, and intermittent evacuations for those in lahar channels during heavy rain. We will really need help.”

Salceda recalled that prior to Typhoon Rolly in 2020, which caused heavy lahar flows in Albay, abnormal Mayon activity was already recorded, causing PHIVOLCS to declare Alert Level 1, in addition to remnant pyroclastic density current (PDC) deposits from the January-March 2018 eruption. The municipality of Guinobatan, in Albay, was hardest hit by lahar from the typhoon.

“The lahar channel flows through densely populated areas in some Albay towns. The lesson to learn is early evacuation. But we know, of course, that takes up resources. If the current support the National Government has extended continues, we will be able to save lives and maintain zero-casualty.”

Some 5,713 families are already in evacuation centers, and Salceda expects more, as “given parameters and historical experience, we are likely weeks away from Alert Level 4, when a violent eruption could occur.”

“When Alert Level 4 is declared, you could see 21,000 families or 78,000 individuals evacuated. That will be a logistical nightmare if we have to do it alone.”

“Fortunately, President Marcos, Speaker Romualdez, and the administration, including national government agencies, have been very supportive. Continued support saves lives – and we are very thankful.”

Salceda adds that “in the interim, while the situation has not escalated, we appeal for help with preparing the sanitation and other facilities in evacuation centers. I’m working on water supply, but we need sanitation systems.”

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