Albay opts to relocate hundreds of Mayon evacuees

by Karen Reyes-Caringal, ANC

Posted at Jan 04 2010 02:31 PM | Updated as of Jan 07 2010 04:51 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The local government of Albay will no longer allow around 2,700 residents back in the 6-kilometer danger zone around Mayon Volcano.

In an interview Monday on ANC's Dateline Philippines, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said evacuees who have had to stay put in schools serving as evacuation centers will have to be relocated permanently.

"Basically, parang nasa transition talaga sila. Lahat talaga 'yun may mga lote na, ang wala na lang bahay so yun ang susubukan namin, i-relocate sila (They're in transition right now.  Lots have been provided for all of them, houses just need to be built.  This is what we aim to do, to relocate them all.)," Salceda said.

Thousands have begun returning home beyond the 6-km danger zone, after the Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) last Saturday lowered its alert level on Mayon from 4 to 3.

Salceda admitted though that many of the remaining evacuees object to the relocation or even to remaining in evacuation centers longer than others.

"Mas komportable talaga sila sa bahay nila e.  Marami kasi sila di magagawa pag nasa evacuation center sila (They're more comfortable in their own homes.  There's a lot they're unable to do in evacuation centers.)," Salceda added.

Still, he said their priority when rehabilitation efforts begin is to relocate the more than 2,700 individuals living in the permanent danger zone.