MANILA, Philippines - At least 39 areas in the Bicol region that will serve as evacuation centers for people who could be displaced by the Bulusan and Mayon volcano eruptions have been identified by civil defense authorities.
Benito Ramos, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director and Office of Civil Defense administrator said most of the evacuation centers are schools and churches around the volcanoes.
He added that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Health (DOH) have also stocked relief goods and medical equipment in the region.
Ramos said local government units are "very active" in making their own preparations to address untoward incidents. "We are preparing. We can't predict nature. We should not be complacent," he said.
He said military units, along with the local police and coast guard, are also on alert for any emergency. He added that military vehicles and trucks from the local government units are prepared to evacuate people if the need arises.
"Our first responders is the Philippine Army, they are on alert. Once the volcanoes erupt, it's automatic on their part to temporarily stop combat operations and engage in rescue operations," Ramos said.
"That's an SOP (standard operating procedure) also when there is typhoon. The NPA (New People's Army) also stops in fighting (government troops). Even families of NPA rebels come to evacuation centers and are fed by DSWD," he explained.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has observed quakes in 2 volcanoes over the past days. Ramos said volcanic quakes were also observed in the the Taal volcano in Cavite.
The NDRRMC said the Army's 2nd Infantry Division, specifically the 29th Infantry Battalion, is on alert to render assistance if Taal erupts.