EVACUATION ORDERED AS MAYON THREATENS TO ERUPT 

SEPT 16 --Albay Gov. Joey Salceda has ordered the forced evacuation of more than 30,000 residents near the restive Mayon Volcano after state volcanologists spotted a crater glow and raised its alert level from 2 to 3 Monday night. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) heightened Mayon’s alert status at 10 p.m. after registering 39 rock fall events and 32 low frequency volcanic earthquakes during the past 24 hours. Ed Laguerta, Phivolcs’ Bicol chief, said the 2,460-meter-high Mayon is exhibiting relatively high unrest, with magma at the crater and “hazardous eruption... possible within weeks.”

The forced evacuation was implemented in areas covered by the six-kilometer radius from the crater, called the Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ), that included portions of the cities of Legazpi, Tabaco and Ligao and the towns of Guinobatan, Camalig, Daraga, Sto. Domingo and Malilipot. The military had started the forced evacuation of residents near the PDZ. Armed Forces Southern Luzon chief Maj. Gen. Ricardo Visaya said the evacuation would cover residents within the six- to eight-kilometer danger zone. He said that more than 1,600 families from the towns of Camalig, Malilipot and Guinobatan in Albay have been brought to safer places as of yesterday afternoon. Visaya said all local disaster management councils have been activated and are ready for any emergency situation. About 20 military trucks were pre-positioned at the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Operations Center in Legazpi City. The Army’s 9th Infantry Division was expected to send 30 more trucks for the evacuation operation. *READ MORE...

ALSO: Mayon in soft eruption; calamity state declared  

SEPT 18 -- PHOTO: Residents living within Mayon’s danger zone are evacuated to the Camalig North Central School in Camalig, Albay as the volcano’s soft eruption intensified yesterday. EDD GUMBAN. LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – The “soft eruption” of Mayon Volcano in Albay province has intensified, with lava trickling down some two kilometers from the crater, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said yesterday. Three cities and five towns covering 46 barangays are now under a state of calamity as the province prepares for the imminent eruption of Mayon, the provincial government said.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda identified the calamity areas as the cities of Legazpi, Tabaco and Ligao and the towns of Guinobatan, Camalig, Daraga, Sto. Domingo and Malilipot. Classes were suspended starting Tuesday afternoon as schools would be used as evacuation centers. Phivolcs-Bicol chief volcanologist Ed Laguerta said that at least 47 volcanic quakes and 270 rock falls were detected in the past 24 hours by the agency’s instruments at the Lignon Hill Observatory. “These recorded double-digit volcanic quakes and rock fall incidents mean that the pushing of magma to the surface is escalating and that more lava fragments are now detaching from the lava dome, which is estimated to measure at least 150 meters in diameter,” Laguerta told The STAR. *READ MORE...

ALSO: Where there’s smoke there’s fire: More than 36,000 people evacuated with fears the Philippines most active volcano is about to blow  

SEPT 18 --FROM DAILY NEWS, AUSTRALIA--PHOTO: Mount Mayon spews lava and gas in an eruption in 2006, endangering nearby villages LEGAZPI, PHILIPPINES - Thousands of villagers in the Philippines are being evacuated in response to warnings that an active volcano is set to erupt. Mount Mayon, located in the east of the Philippines, will experience a 'hazardous eruption' within weeks, warned the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. The volcano is already experiencing an ongoing gentle eruption, as lava fragments flow down the slope of Mount Mayon, prompting authorities to enforce the evacuation.

Mount Mayon spews lava and gas in an eruption in 2006, endangering nearby villages. Thousands of Philippino villagers have been evacuated after reports warned of the imminent explosion +6 Thousands of Philippino villagers have been evacuated after reports warned of the imminent explosion Increased restlessness in the mountain was recorded on Thursday night, with nearly four times the amount of lava fragments and boulders rolling down from Mayon’s crater.

These levels indicate that the lava dome has breached the south-eastern side of the volcano, coming on the heels of volcanic gas and molten lava which are making the crater red, creating a glow which can be seen at night. The volcano shows 'a noticeable escalation of unrest,' said the Philippine Volcanology and Seismology Institute, as the number of low-frequency volcanic earthquakes has also increased. More than 10,000 people have been evacuated so far as the Institute has further raised the alert level to 'critical' for the mountain, the agency's third highest alert level after eruption and imminent eruption. Renato Solidum, who heads the government’s volcano monitoring agency said, 'It’s already erupting, but not explosive.' Thousands evacuated as Philippines volcano glows red. *READ MORE...

ALSO: Restive perfect cone, lures tourists 

SEPT 16 --PHOTO: FATAL ATTRACTION Tourists love to see the lava flow. “It’s dramatic, like a fireworks show,” says an all-terrain vehicle tour operator near Mayon Volcano, here photographed at Ligñon Hill, Barangay Bogtong, Legazpi City, on Tuesday. Albay Gov. Joey Salceda has declared a state of calamity in the province. LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines—“This will boost local tourism…. It’s like a party. People are out at night watching,” said Marti Calleja, who runs all-terrain vehicle tours near Mayon Volcano for as many as 100 tourists per week.

“It’s dramatic, like a fireworks show…. When there’s nothing happening, it’s all dark around here, but now it’s picture-perfect,” Calleja told Agence France-Presse. Calleja said that when Mayon became active in the past, his clients often requested night tours to see the glowing crater. Aljon Banares, who works for a backpackers’ inn 12 kilometers from the volcano, was also preparing for more visitors. “We have more guests in situations like this. Tourists want to see the lava flow,” Banares said.

That may be so, but Albay Gov. Joey Salceda placed Albay province under a state of calamity and ordered the immediate evacuation of 10,500 families, or 51,625 people, in two cities and three towns after volcanologists warned of a dangerous eruption by Mayon Volcano within weeks. The volcano, famed for its near-perfect cone and brutal volatility, began to stir again with magma rising to the top and small earthquakes rattling deep inside.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised the warning over Mayon to Alert Level 3 on Monday night, meaning a hazardous blast could occur in weeks.

At a joint meeting on Tuesday of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, Salceda said “forced evacuation” would be imposed on residents within the 6-km permanent danger zone (PDZ).
A “compulsory or mandatory evacuation” would also be in effect for those within the 6-8 km “extended danger zone (EDZ),” Salceda said. The 2,460-meter Mayon has a long history of deadly eruptions. In 1814, more than 1,200 people were killed when lava flows buried the town of Cagsawa.*READ MORE...

ALSO: Where tourists can view glowing lava  

SEPT 18 --Albay Gov. Joey Salceda believes the activity on Mayon Volcano would not affect tourism in the province despite an advisory issued by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) prohibiting activities near the volcano.

These include a ban on ATV (all-terrain vehicle) tours, trekking, playing golf at Doña Pepita Golf Course and all other recreational activities within the permanent danger zone and extended danger zone.

The PDRRMC, however, recommended areas where tourists could view the volcano from a distance, such as Ligñon Hill, Cagsawa Ruins Park, Daraga Church, Legazpi City Boulevard, Taysan Hills and Quintuinan Hills.

“In the 2009 eruption, Albay reached the target growth and now we are expecting to hit our target (similar to 2009),” Salceda said. When Mayon started oozing lava that glowed at night on Dec. 14, 2009, the number of tourists arriving in Legazpi grew from about 200 to over 2,000 a day. By the end of December, when the famously active volcano calmed down, tourist arrivals in the city hit 75,000, surpassing the whole year tourism figure of the previous year. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Search continues for missing passengers of sunken ferry  

SEPT 16 --Search and rescue operations continued yesterday for the lone remaining missing passenger
SEPT 16 --of the ferry M/V Maharlika 2 that sank off Southern Leyte on Saturday. The Coast Guard identified the missing passenger as Felizardo Saberon. “We believe that this person is on board the ship and is still missing because he is the only one who has relatives looking for him,” PCG Cmdr. Armand Balilo said. The Coast Guard has issued a notice to mariners to alert commercial ships passing Southern Leyte to be on the lookout and render assistance if they spot Saberon.

“With the recovered bodies, the total number of fatalities has increased to eight,” said Navy spokesman, Lt. Cmdr. Marideth Domingo. The PCG identified the fatalities as Arlita Puyales, Betty Bahi, Rahima Esmael, Tiffany Saberon, Armando Mosqueda, Ramon Molata and Nelson Custodio. A female body has yet to identified. The Coast Guard earlier said 110 passengers survived the tragedy. Sources from the National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council said the sinking of M/V Maharlika 2 was not related to Typhoon Luis. *READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘Sunken ferry should have been retired’  

SEPT 15 --PHOTO: A Philippine Navy vessel searches the Surigao waters on Monday, September 15, to look for missing passengers of the MV Maharlika ferry which sank off southern Leyte at the height of Typhoon Luis on Sunday, September 14. Julius Villarosa SURIGAO CITY, Philippines – The sunken M/V Maharlika 2 should have been retired five years ago as it was well past its serviceable life of 25 years, an official of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) bared yesterday.

MARINA director for Caraga region Emmanuel Carpio said that Maharlika 2 was built in 1984 in Mariveles, Bataan. Operations of the 30-year-old ship should have been terminated in 2009 “because serving that long affects seaworthiness, thus compromising safety.”  M/V Maharlika 2 sank off the coast of Southern Leyte Saturday evening. A total of eight passengers perished in the maritime mishap that occurred six nautical miles off Panaon Island in Southern Leyte. The ferry was carrying. “Seaworthiness of ships, or any means or mode of transportation, also depends on the kind of maintenance it gets. And since it is costly – I think the kind of ro-ro (roll on-roll off) vessel like Maharlika 2 if bought brand new will now cost around P100 million – some passenger vessel operators really had to make the most out of its usefulness before they will be replaced by new or refurbished vessel,” Carpio explained.

“This is a reality in Philippine maritime setting as of now, that’s why we in MARINA see to it that passenger and cargo vessels are checked regularly so as not to compromise safety of passengers,” he added. The other day, Carpio suspended the operation of M/V Maharlika 4 because the ship was found to have major deficiencies. “These are expired license of the chief marine engineer, heavy corrosion of the ship’s watertight bulkheads, incomplete checklist of machineries maintenance system and non-functioning fire alarm system and deflection system,” he said. READ MORE...

(ALSO) Coast Guard: Movement of rolling cargo may be cause of Maharlika 2 tipping  

SEPT 18 --The investigating team of the Philippine Coast Guard has found that the movement of vehicles in the rolling cargo area of M/V Maharlika 2 may have caused the vessel to tip over, a TV report said Thursday.

In her report over Balitanghali, GMA News's Marisol Abdurahman said that according to Commodore Gilbert Rueras, commander of PCG's Maritime Safety Services, it was possible that the vehicles were not latched properly.

While the shipmaster and the service crew claimed they secured the vehicles, the PCG will be looking into whether they did it properly, and if the material they used were standard, or appropriate for the weight of the rolling cargoes, the report said.

The PCG said the problem may have also rooted in a lax implementation of protocol inside the rolling cargo area, which has to be inspected before sail-off.

The investigating panel, however, admitted that it is currently only relying on testimonies made by service crew since it would be difficult for them to retrieve the vessel, the report said.


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

Evacuation ordered as Mayon threatens to erupt



MANILA
, SEPTEMBER 22, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 17, 2014 - 12:00am - Albay Gov. Joey Salceda has ordered the forced evacuation of more than 30,000 residents near the restive Mayon Volcano after state volcanologists spotted a crater glow and raised its alert level from 2 to 3 Monday night.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) heightened Mayon’s alert status at 10 p.m. after registering 39 rock fall events and 32 low frequency volcanic earthquakes during the past 24 hours.

Ed Laguerta, Phivolcs’ Bicol chief, said the 2,460-meter-high Mayon is exhibiting relatively high unrest, with magma at the crater and “hazardous eruption... possible within weeks.”

The forced evacuation was implemented in areas covered by the six-kilometer radius from the crater, called the Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ), that included portions of the cities of Legazpi, Tabaco and Ligao and the towns of Guinobatan, Camalig, Daraga, Sto. Domingo and Malilipot.

The military had started the forced evacuation of residents near the PDZ.

Armed Forces Southern Luzon chief Maj. Gen. Ricardo Visaya said the evacuation would cover residents within the six- to eight-kilometer danger zone.

He said that more than 1,600 families from the towns of Camalig, Malilipot and Guinobatan in Albay have been brought to safer places as of yesterday afternoon.

Visaya said all local disaster management councils have been activated and are ready for any emergency situation.

About 20 military trucks were pre-positioned at the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Operations Center in Legazpi City.

The Army’s 9th Infantry Division was expected to send 30 more trucks for the evacuation operation.

* Col. Raul Farnacio, commander of the Army’s 901st brigade, said the residents were willing to leave their homes and move to temporary shelters.

“There was no resistance because they have been practicing this scenario,” he said.

Laguerta said the evacuation was conducted in areas along the southeastern portion of the volcano due to possible pyroclastic flows, which are extremely destructive and deadly.

“In the past several hours, a noticeable escalation of unrest was recorded by the Mayon Volcano monitoring network,” Phivolcs said.

“Crater glow has become observable, indicating incandescence of the crater from molten lava and hot volcanic gas,” it said.

Phivolcs warned the public not to enter the PDZ around the volcano and the seven-kilometer Extended Danger Zone (EDZ) due to the danger of rock falls, landslides and sudden explosions or dome collapse that may generate hazardous volcanic flows.

Mayon’s most destructive eruption happened on Feb. 1, 1814, killing at least 1,200 people.

Laguerta said Mayon observers consider 2014 as an overdue year for another eruption.

“If you will notice, 2014 is 200 years apart from the 1814 Plenian eruption and 100 years away from the 1897 explosion. The pattern of these eruptions tells us that Mayon’s deadliest explosion happened within an interval of 100 years,” he said.

“We have to get them (residents) out of the high risk area fast while we still have time,” said Salceda during an emergency meeting at the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) conference room at Camp General Simeon Ola in Legazpi City yesterday morning.

Aside from evacuating those living at the PDZ, disaster officials have advised residents to evacuate from the EDZ located at the southwest, north and the northeast sector of the volcano.

Salceda had asked officials of the Department of Education and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to prepare the evacuation sites and provisions of the evacuees.

The DSWD said that its Field Office V has already activated and dispatched the members of its Quick Response Team to closely monitor the situation and coordinate with local government units for needed preparations.

DSWD gave assurance that it has enough resources to assist Albay and other local government units (LGUs) that would be affected by the volcano.

Salceda said that four Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional Para el Desarrollo (AECID) typhoon-proof evacuation sites in Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan and Ligao City, and six Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) resilient evacuation structures in Gogon, Libon, Sto. Domingo, Manito, Polangui and Oas are now ready to house the evacuees.

“The evacuation must be completed within three days,” said Salceda.

The National Food Authority said there is enough rice for the region with 239,480 bags, while DSWD has 12,000 starter kits.

Salceda urged the Department of Health to purchase some 1.2 million facemasks to be distributed to residents to prevent upper respiratory infection from ash inhilation.

Mayon in soft eruption; calamity state declared By Cet Dematera (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 18, 2014 - 12:00am 6 3 googleplus1 0


Residents living within Mayon’s danger zone are evacuated to the Camalig North Central School in Camalig, Albay as the volcano’s soft eruption intensified yesterday. EDD GUMBAN

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – The “soft eruption” of Mayon Volcano in Albay province has intensified, with lava trickling down some two kilometers from the crater, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said yesterday.

Three cities and five towns covering 46 barangays are now under a state of calamity as the province prepares for the imminent eruption of Mayon, the provincial government said.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda identified the calamity areas as the cities of Legazpi, Tabaco and Ligao and the towns of Guinobatan, Camalig, Daraga, Sto. Domingo and Malilipot.

Classes were suspended starting Tuesday afternoon as schools would be used as evacuation centers.

Phivolcs-Bicol chief volcanologist Ed Laguerta said that at least 47 volcanic quakes and 270 rock falls were detected in the past 24 hours by the agency’s instruments at the Lignon Hill Observatory.

“These recorded double-digit volcanic quakes and rock fall incidents mean that the pushing of magma to the surface is escalating and that more lava fragments are now detaching from the lava dome, which is estimated to measure at least 150 meters in diameter,” Laguerta told The STAR.

* Philvocs is also closely monitoring the sulfur dioxide emission or gas output as sustained increase in its volume means massive degassing in the magma chamber that could lead to a hazardous explosion.

“Hazardous explosions are usually characterized by the scalding pyroclastic flows and towering cauliflower-like ash columns,” Laguerta said.

A portion of the detaching fragments from the lava dome is gradually patching the collapsed crater wall facing Legazpi City.

“This means that should the cracked portion of the crater wall restore as it was before the 1984 violent eruption, lava could now flow down slope at any direction, and no longer merely confined to the southeast portion as it is at present,” Laguerta warned.

Philvocs said Mayon’s alert status remains at Alert Level 3, which means that hazardous eruption is possible within weeks. Philvocs sent additional personnel to Albay to keep a close watch on Mayon.

Evacuation continues

Salceda said that as of yesterday morning, 12 Army trucks evacuated at least 4,624 families, or 23,557 persons, from 16 barangays located within six to eight kilometers from Mayon’s crater.

Evacuated were residents of barangays Maninila, Muladbucad Grande, Muladbucad Pequeño and Tandarora in Guinobatan town; Canaway, San Isidro and Calbayog in Malilipot town; Anoling, Cabangan, Quirangay, Salugan, Sua and Tumpa in Camalig town; Baligang and Nasisi in Ligao City; and Magapo, Comon, Buang and Mariroc in Tabaco City.

Salceda said the residents of Legazpi City, Daraga and Sto. Domingo are already at the Taysan relocation site, San Roque relocation center and Anislag relocation village, respectively.

Evacuees received food and other relief items since the first day of their evacuation, Salceda added.

The military has set up “chokepoints” in Albay to prevent residents who were evacuated from returning to danger zones. Col. Raul Farnacio, chief of the Army’s 901st brigade, said security forces are conducting patrols in areas where evacuations are taking place.

“Chokepoints were established in the six-kilometer permanent danger zone,” Farnacio said. “(The purpose) is to check and monitor the residents to ensure that none of them will enter their houses.”

Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon asked the faithful living in the danger zones to abide by the evacuation procedures and urged his parishioners to pray the Oratio imperata for God to deliver them from calamities. With Francis Elevado, Alexis Romero, Helen Flores, Celso Amo, Evelyn Macairan

FROM THE DAILY MAIL, AUSTRALIA

Where there’s smoke there’s fire: More than 36,000 people evacuated with fears the Philippines most active volcano is about to blow By HEATHER MCNAB FOR DAILYMAIL AUSTRALIA PUBLISHED: 07:04 GMT, 18 September 2014 | UPDATED: 11:03 GMT, 18 September 2014


Mount Mayon spews lava and gas in an eruption in 2006, endangering nearby villages

LEGAZPI, PHILIPPINES - Thousands of villagers in the Philippines are being evacuated in response to warnings that an active volcano is set to erupt. Mount Mayon, located in the east of the Philippines, will experience a 'hazardous eruption' within weeks, warned the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

The volcano is already experiencing an ongoing gentle eruption, as lava fragments flow down the slope of Mount Mayon, prompting authorities to enforce the evacuation. Scroll down for video Mount Mayon spews lava and gas in an eruption in 2006, endangering nearby villages

Thousands of Philippino villagers have been evacuated after reports warned of the imminent explosion Increased restlessness in the mountain was recorded on Thursday night, with nearly four times the amount of lava fragments and boulders rolling down from Mayon’s crater.

These levels indicate that the lava dome has breached the south-eastern side of the volcano, coming on the heels of volcanic gas and molten lava which are making the crater red, creating a glow which can be seen at night.

The volcano shows 'a noticeable escalation of unrest,' said the Philippine Volcanology and Seismology Institute, as the number of low-frequency volcanic earthquakes has also increased.

More than 10,000 people have been evacuated so far as the Institute has further raised the alert level to 'critical' for the mountain, the agency's third highest alert level after eruption and imminent eruption.

Renato Solidum, who heads the government’s volcano monitoring agency said, 'It’s already erupting, but not explosive.' Thousands evacuated as Philippines volcano glows red

* The Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has raised the level to 'critical' for the mountain.

The volcano has erupted 50 times over the past 500 years, threatening local towns. Large white crosses have been erected by villagers at the entrance of their neighbourhoods, in the hope that they will protect them from harm.

Currently, the activity is just lava coming down. If there is an explosion, all sides of the volcano are threatened.

The mayor of close-by farming town Santo Domingo told ABC News that his village had previously been adversely affected by Mount Mayon.

In 1987 Mayon erupted with pyroclastic flows, which equates to fast-flowing volcanic debris and super-heated gas which destroys everything it comes into contact with, almost decimating the population.

'We are praying that it would not be the worst-case scenario,' Aguas said, noting that only 10% of residents in his town had started to evacuate.

The mountain is a popular tourist site, located 340 km from the capital of Manila, in the coconut producing province of Albay.

It has erupted 50 times in the past 500 years, the most recent of which was in 2013. Five climbers, including three German tourists were killed when ash spewed suddenly from the volcano.

Fatal Attraction: Restive near-perfect cone, lures tourists By Ma. April Mier, Michael B. Jaucian |Inquirer Southern Luzon3:04 am | Wednesday, September 17th, 2014


FATAL ATTRACTION Tourists love to see the lava flow. “It’s dramatic, like a fireworks show,” says an all-terrain vehicle tour operator near Mayon Volcano, here photographed at Ligñon Hill, Barangay Bogtong, Legazpi City, on Tuesday. Albay Gov. Joey Salceda has declared a state of calamity in the province. MARK ALVIC ESPLANA/INQUIRER SOUTHERN LUZON

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines—“This will boost local tourism…. It’s like a party. People are out at night watching,” said Marti Calleja, who runs all-terrain vehicle tours near Mayon Volcano for as many as 100 tourists per week.

“It’s dramatic, like a fireworks show…. When there’s nothing happening, it’s all dark around here, but now it’s picture-perfect,” Calleja told Agence France-Presse.

Calleja said that when Mayon became active in the past, his clients often requested night tours to see the glowing crater.
Aljon Banares, who works for a backpackers’ inn 12 kilometers from the volcano, was also preparing for more visitors.

“We have more guests in situations like this. Tourists want to see the lava flow,” Banares said.

That may be so, but Albay Gov. Joey Salceda placed Albay province under a state of calamity and ordered the immediate evacuation of 10,500 families, or 51,625 people, in two cities and three towns after volcanologists warned of a dangerous eruption by Mayon Volcano within weeks.

The volcano, famed for its near-perfect cone and brutal volatility, began to stir again with magma rising to the top and small earthquakes rattling deep inside.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised the warning over Mayon to Alert Level 3 on Monday night, meaning a hazardous blast could occur in weeks.

At a joint meeting on Tuesday of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, Salceda said “forced evacuation” would be imposed on residents within the 6-km permanent danger zone (PDZ).

A “compulsory or mandatory evacuation” would also be in effect for those within the 6-8 km “extended danger zone (EDZ),” Salceda said.

The 2,460-meter Mayon has a long history of deadly eruptions. In 1814, more than 1,200 people were killed when lava flows buried the town of Cagsawa.

* An explosion in August 2006 did not directly cause deaths, but four months later a passing typhoon unleashed an avalanche of volcanic mud from Mayon’s slopes that killed 1,000 people.

Four foreign tourists and their local tour guide were killed when Mayon last erupted in May 2013. They were on the volcano’s slopes at the time, and Banares said tourists would not be in danger if they acted sensibly.

“We tell our clients that it’s safe as long as they follow the government’s warnings,” Banares said.

Thousands at risk

Official records showed the population at risk within the 6-km zone would be 2,898 families (15,049 persons) from 24 villages in the cities of Tabaco and Ligao and the towns of Malilipot, Camalig and Guinobatan.

The population at risk within the 6-8-km EDZ area would be 7,657 families (36,576 persons) from 25 villages in the same towns and cities.

Hard-headed farmers

Residents will be forcibly evacuated, said Bernardo Alejandro, the regional civil defense director.

He said authorities expected to evacuate almost all of the 50,000 people in the danger zone—a picturesque coconut farming area near the Pacific coast—within three days.

“We’ll have no problems with the 99 percent who will evacuate but there are some who will be hard-headed,” Alejandro said, citing the response to a similar evacuation call in 2009 when some farmers refused to move out.

“They don’t want to leave their houses and their livelihood…. These are coconut and orchid farmers with chickens, pigs and carabaos,” he said.

On Monday night, the local government of Guinobatan evacuated 29 families, composed of 120 people, from Barangay (village) Muladbucad, to the elementary school in the village.

“Alert Level 3 may indicate a possible hazardous Mayon eruption in the coming weeks based on several volcanic quakes recorded by our seismographs,” resident volcanologist Eduardo Laguerta said.

In its bulletin early on Tuesday, Phivolcs said it had recorded 32 volcanic earthquakes and 72 rockfall events over the past 24 hours.

‘Vulcanian eruption’

It noted that “rolling incandescent rockfall” in the uppermost reaches of the Bonga Gully indicated the summit lava dome was breaching the crater on its southeastern side.

Laguerta said that in the past few days, sulfur dioxide emission had exceeded 511 tons per day, at times reaching up to 1,000 tons.

“If Mayon sustains its gas emission of 1,000 tons a day expect an explosion within … four weeks,” Laguerta said.

He said parameters observed on the volcano’s activity showed it would likely be a “Vulcanian eruption.”

According to Phivolcs, Vulcanian-type eruptions are characterized by strong explosions, multiple pyroclastic flows around the volcano and lava flows that cascade down the gullies.

Evacuation shelters

Classes were suspended starting Tuesday afternoon in schools to be used as evacuation centers.

Col. Raul Farnacio, commanding officer of the Army’s 901st Infantry Brigade, told the Inquirer that he had dispatched 27 trucks to speed up evacuation.

Salceda said the province needed financial help from the national government to achieve “zero casualty.” He said the province could only provide for the primary needs of evacuees for about two weeks.

Salceda projected that around P1.5 million would be needed for rice supplies in a day.

He said that the quick response fund of Albay amounting to P20 million was not enough for rice, fuel, medicine, nonrice items and other needs of the evacuees.

Salceda warns of arrest

Based on a projection of the Office of Civil Defense in Bicol, almost P164 million would be spent for evacuees for three months.

Salceda said that after a three-day forced evacuation, he would enforce a 24-hour curfew in potentially hazardous areas.
“Anyone who will go back to their houses even for a minute can be arrested,” he warned.

Locals involved in the tourist industry were expecting Mayon’s latest burst to be a mini-boom.

The area is a draw for visitors who want to see Mayon’s cone, sample the region’s spicy cuisine and visit its beautiful beaches.

Officials say many people venture into the area to farm or live when there is a lull in activity.

40 eruptions

Mayon has erupted more than 40 times over the past 400 years.

Despite the risks, Mayon and its near-perfect cone is a favorite spot for volcano watchers. Most enjoy the occasional nighttime spectacle of the rim lit by flowing lava, viewing from the safety of hotels in Legazpi.

The military’s Southern Luzon Command is carrying out the forced evacuation.

Maj. Gen. Ricardo Visaya, chief of the Southern Luzon Command, said his men will continue enforcing the evacuation of barangays near the volcano.

The 901st Infantry Brigade’s humanitarian and disaster response team under Col. Raul Farnacio is taking the lead in the forced evacuation.

The military has deployed 50 trucks to be used in the forced evacuation, while two Huey helicopters left Legazpi to conduct an aerial survey around Mayon.

Get ready with damp clothes

Residents in areas located northeast of Mayon, such as Sto. Domingo and Malilipot, were told to be ready with damp cloths or masks in case of an ashfall.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said its field office had activated and dispatched its quick response team to coordinate with the local government.

“The DSWD has enough resources to assist the local government units,” said Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman.–With reports from Julie M. Aurelio, Inquirer Research, AFP and AP

Where tourists can view glowing lava Philippine Daily Inquirer2:52 am | Thursday, September 18th, 2014


Mount Mayon. AFP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–Albay Gov. Joey Salceda believes the activity on Mayon Volcano would not affect tourism in the province despite an advisory issued by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) prohibiting activities near the volcano. These include a ban on ATV (all-terrain vehicle) tours, trekking, playing golf at Doña Pepita Golf Course and all other recreational activities within the permanent danger zone and extended danger zone.

The PDRRMC, however, recommended areas where tourists could view the volcano from a distance, such as Ligñon Hill, Cagsawa Ruins Park, Daraga Church, Legazpi City Boulevard, Taysan Hills and Quintuinan Hills.

“In the 2009 eruption, Albay reached the target growth and now we are expecting to hit our target (similar to 2009),” Salceda said.

When Mayon started oozing lava that glowed at night on Dec. 14, 2009, the number of tourists arriving in Legazpi grew from about 200 to over 2,000 a day.

By the end of December, when the famously active volcano calmed down, tourist arrivals in the city hit 75,000, surpassing the whole year tourism figure of the previous year.

Search continues for missing passengers of sunken ferry By Jaime Laude and Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 17, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Search and rescue operations continued yesterday for the lone remaining missing passenger of the ferry M/V Maharlika 2 that sank off Southern Leyte on Saturday.

The Coast Guard identified the missing passenger as Felizardo Saberon.

“We believe that this person is on board the ship and is still missing because he is the only one who has relatives looking for him,” PCG Cmdr. Armand Balilo said.

The Coast Guard has issued a notice to mariners to alert commercial ships passing Southern Leyte to be on the lookout and render assistance if they spot Saberon.

“With the recovered bodies, the total number of fatalities has increased to eight,” said Navy spokesman, Lt. Cmdr. Marideth Domingo.

The PCG identified the fatalities as Arlita Puyales, Betty Bahi, Rahima Esmael, Tiffany Saberon, Armando Mosqueda, Ramon Molata and Nelson Custodio. A female body has yet to identified.

The Coast Guard earlier said 110 passengers survived the tragedy.

Sources from the National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council said the sinking of M/V Maharlika 2 was not related to Typhoon Luis.

* The roll-on, roll-off ferry sank after developing steering problems off the coastal town of San Ricardo.

4-man probe team

Meanwhile, Balilo said a four-man maritime casualty investigating team would conduct a probe into the sinking of the ferry.

Commodore Gilbert Rueras of the PCG Maritime Safety Services will lead the probe team with a lawyer and two PCG mariners as members.

“The investigation will begin today in Lipata, Surigao City. They would soon be sending out summons in aid of the investigation. They would be inviting people whose testimonies would be material to the investigation, such as the ship captain, survivors and witnesses in the incident,” Balilo said.

He said the vessel’s owner, Archipelago Ferries Corp., would be asked to submit documents, such as the passenger manifest and the voyage plan.

Balilo said the probe team was not given a deadline to complete its investigation, but is expected to speed up work.

‘Sunken ferry should have been retired’ By Ben Serrano (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 18, 2014 - 12:00am 6 32 googleplus1 1


A Philippine Navy vessel searches the Surigao waters on Monday, September 15, to look for missing passengers of the MV Maharlika ferry which sank off southern Leyte at the height of Typhoon Luis on Sunday, September 14. Julius Villarosa

SURIGAO CITY, Philippines – The sunken M/V Maharlika 2 should have been retired five years ago as it was well past its serviceable life of 25 years, an official of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) bared yesterday.

MARINA director for Caraga region Emmanuel Carpio said that Maharlika 2 was built in 1984 in Mariveles, Bataan. Operations of the 30-year-old ship should have been terminated in 2009 “because serving that long affects seaworthiness, thus compromising safety.”

M/V Maharlika 2 sank off the coast of Southern Leyte Saturday evening. A total of eight passengers perished in the maritime mishap that occurred six nautical miles off Panaon Island in Southern Leyte. The ferry was carrying.

“Seaworthiness of ships, or any means or mode of transportation, also depends on the kind of maintenance it gets. And since it is costly – I think the kind of ro-ro (roll on-roll off) vessel like Maharlika 2 if bought brand new will now cost around P100 million – some passenger vessel operators really had to make the most out of its usefulness before they will be replaced by new or refurbished vessel,” Carpio explained.

“This is a reality in Philippine maritime setting as of now, that’s why we in MARINA see to it that passenger and cargo vessels are checked regularly so as not to compromise safety of passengers,” he added.

The other day, Carpio suspended the operation of M/V Maharlika 4 because the ship was found to have major deficiencies.

“These are expired license of the chief marine engineer, heavy corrosion of the ship’s watertight bulkheads, incomplete checklist of machineries maintenance system and non-functioning fire alarm system and deflection system,” he said.

* Carpio noted that Maharlika 2 and Maharlika 4 are owned by the government, particularly the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

Registration records of the Maharlika 2 showed that in 1995, it was owned by the DPWH and the ship was turned over to the DOTC in the following years.

“In 1995, DPWH turned over ownership, supervision and management of these passenger vessels to DOTC. – With Evelyn Macairan, Jaime Laude

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Coast Guard: Movement of rolling cargo may be cause of Maharlika 2 tipping September 18, 2014 5:44pm 0 2 0 14 Tags: MV Maharlika II , Philippine Coast Guard


SCREENGRAB FROM GMA NEWS VIDEO

The investigating team of the Philippine Coast Guard has found that the movement of vehicles in the rolling cargo area of M/V Maharlika 2 may have caused the vessel to tip over, a TV report said Thursday.

In her report over Balitanghali, GMA News's Marisol Abdurahman said that according to Commodore Gilbert Rueras, commander of PCG's Maritime Safety Services, it was possible that the vehicles were not latched properly.

While the shipmaster and the service crew claimed they secured the vehicles, the PCG will be looking into whether they did it properly, and if the material they used were standard, or appropriate for the weight of the rolling cargoes, the report said.

The PCG said the problem may have also rooted in a lax implementation of protocol inside the rolling cargo area, which has to be inspected before sail-off.

The investigating panel, however, admitted that it is currently only relying on testimonies made by service crew since it would be difficult for them to retrieve the vessel, the report said.

* It added that the PCG plans to talk to survivors who may have seen how the crew tied the vehicles before the ship left.

In a statement on Monday, Philharbor Ferries and Port Services, Inc., the owner of the vessel, said that Maharlika 2 left the station in Lipata, Surigao with the following vehicles onboard:

- five six-wheeler trucks, - one passenger bus, - six 10-wheeler trucks, and - a four-wheeler truck.

Philharbor issued another statement on Wednesday to clarify the number of passengers in the vessel when it sank, saying the 28 drivers and bus or trucking assistants onboard were "documented on a separate form" that was not submitted to the PCG.

Meanwhile, the Balitanghali report said survivors of the incident with missing family members are angered by the vessel operator's seeming inaction, since their relatives are still unaccounted for five days after the ship sank.

The survivors claimed they have gone to Philharbor's office a number of times, but were only met with promises to help.

GMA News went there, but was told there was no one authorized to speak on the company's behalf.

Philharbor earlier said in its statements that it has been extending assistance to survivors, as well as the families of the casualties. — Rose-An Jessica Dioquino/BM, GMA News


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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