By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has forged an agreement with the provincial government of Albay for the implementation of a cash-for-work program for individuals and families adversely affected by the Mayon Volcano eruption.
The cash-for-work program is a short-term intervention implemented by the DSWD to provide temporary employment to distressed or displaced individuals by participating in preparedness, mitigation, relief, rehabilitation or risk reduction projects and activities in their communities or in evacuation centers.
Under the memorandum of agreement (MoA), each beneficiary will receive P290 per day for 10 days of work.
The work that they will perform will be based on the need of the evacuation center where they are staying.
About 139 beneficiaries will benefit from the program in Bacacay; 3,035 in Camalig; 2,658 in Daraga; and 3,264 beneficiaries in Guinobatan.
In Legazpi City, 4,074 displaced individuals will be included in the program, while a total of 1,368 and 1,925 beneficiaries are being targeted in Ligao City and Tabaco City, respectively.
Meanwhile, 1,329 beneficiaries will benefit from the program in Malilipot and 3,578 in Sto. Domingo.
The fund for the cash-for-work will be transferred to the concerned local government units (LGUs), who will then manage its implementation.
DSWD-Bicol Region will provide technical assistance to the LGUs for the program’s implementation.
It will also monitor the status of the program in all its phases as well as the utilization of the fund by the LGUs.
The program will be implemented for 10 days this month.
Beautiful, but dangerous
Beneath the thick clouds for the past two days is a beautiful, but still dangerous Mayon Volcano.
Volcanologists here warned local residents that it is still not safe to go back to their homes in the danger zone amid the ongoing decampment here that is being misinterpreted by displaced residents that Mayon is on its way to calming down.
Winchell Sevilla, volcano specialist of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), said that the readings of data from their instruments and their analyses still indicate a restive Mayon that could spew more pyroclastic density materials at any time.
“All the data points to the fact of continuous activity of the Mayon Volcano. And that is the reason why it is still under Alert Level 4,” said Sevilla.
While the sulfur dioxide emission decreased and a ground deflation was monitored on the southern side of the volcano, Sevilla said other parameters indicate of Mayon rumblings. He said that the lava flow is continuous which means there ia still high pressure that continuously pushing out volcanic materials out of the volcano
Before noon yesterday, there were ash puffs monitored and rumbling sounds could still be heard emanating from the volcano.
Ed Laguerta, Phivolcs senior volcanologist, said that the normal sulfur dioxide emission of the volcano is at 5,000 tons a day but for the past few days, it still at 1,500 tons a day although the figure is a reduction by half from the last monitoring of 3,000 tons a day.
“There are three parameters that we are using to determine if Mayon is safe or not. Right now, all the three parameters show abnormalities,” said Laguerta.
The three parameters are gas emission, ground inflation and volcanic earthquakes.
“What we are doing is for public safey. We are particularly concerned of pyroclastic density currents (composed of lava, gas and ash) because these are deadly,” said Laguerta.
Aside from being superhot at more than 1,000 degree celsius, PDCs have a forward force of carbon monoxide which could kill a person when inhaled a very strong force that could instantly kill a person that would be hit.
A total of 55 earthquakes have been recorded over the past 24 hours at Mayon as its volcanic activities have been slowing down in the past few days. However, the alert level status at the restive volcano remains at level 4.
From Saturday until Sunday, Phivolcs recorded sporadic and weak lava fountaining, lava flow and degassing from the summit.
One event produced a 500-meter-high ash plume and a low and weak lava fountain that lasted 37 seconds.
In addition, nine rockfall events were recorded by Mayon’s seismic monitoring network.
Throughout Saturday night, quiet lava effusion fed lava flows in the Miisi and Bonga-Buyuan channels.
The Miisi lava flow has remained at 3.2 kilometers from the volcano summit, while the Bonga-Buyuan lava flows have already advanced to 4.3 kilometers.
Aid from soldiers
For the benefit of displaced families still sheltered at evacuation centers, soldiers from Task Force “Sagip” launched last Saturday its “Operation Magpasaya,” which extended free services like haircuts, massage therapy, and medical check-ups.
The 9th Civil Military Operations (Kaagapay) Battalion spearhead and conceptualized the program in cooperation with Team Albay Youth Organization (TAYO) to alleviate the hardships being experienced by evacuees in Albay.
Maj. Gen. Jesus A. Manangquil Jr., Commander 9ID, said that soldiers are not only ensuring the safety and security of residents near the restive volcano, but also extending psychosocial assistance for thousands of evacuees.
The soldiers take part in the feeding program and delivery of medical services, haircuts and massage therapy to displaced residents, said Manangquil.
The 9th Infantry Division has also engaged additional manpower, deploying skilled Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) carpentry quads for the construction of additional facilities such as comfort rooms at the evacuation sites. (With reports from Aaron B. Recuenco and Ruel Saldico)