DSWD Bicol personnel helped the Mayon evacuees during their decampment to ensure their safe return home.

As Mayon Volcano exhibits decreasing signs of unrest, residents who have been evacuated to safety for nearly 4 months are now allowed to return home per advisory issued by Albay Governor Grex Lagman on October 5, 2023. All local chief executives (LCEs) of affected cities and municipalities were instructed by the Governor to begin the evacuee decampment process due to the reduced volcanic activity of Mayon, as monitored by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) and the Albay Public Safety Emergency Management Office (APSEMO).

DSWD Bicol played a crucial role in ensuring the safe return of these evacuees to their respective homes. On October 6 and 7, 2023, the agency assisted in the decampment of 2,106 families in Malilipot, Tabaco, and Camalig in the province of Albay. However, based on the report from the Camalig Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO), 189 families residing within the 6-kilometer permanent danger zone will remain at the Camalig Bungkaras Evacuation Center due to the high potential risk of lava flows in their area.

The agency will also continue to monitor these remaining IDPs in the said municipality.

On September 30, 2023, in Daraga, Albay, the agency oversaw the decampment of 949 affected families as ordered by its LGU. DSWD Bicol also monitored the safe return of the IDPs in Santo Domingo and Guinobatan last September.

All returning families received family food packs as take-home assistance from DSWD to ensure that they have food supply. The 7th wave of food assistance was also released to the LGUs prior decampment which covers the period from September 25-October 9. The second tranche of the emergency cash transfer will also be released to these affected families despite decampment as part of the early recovery services of DSWD.

Though the situation is improving, residents are advised to remain cautious due to potential risks like ashfall, lava flow, and Pyroclastic Density Currents (PDC).  Additionally, they are reminded to be vigilant during the typhoon season, as heavy rainfall could trigger sudden lahar flows.

The agency continues to maintain a state of alertness and readiness by conducting regular monitoring, assessment and replenishment of foodpacks.

DSWD Bicol has now provided Php 236,447,614.05 cost of assistance to 5,841 affected families inside and outside evacuation centers in the seven (7) affected LGUs, since the commencement of the evacuation last June 8. The assistance includes Family Food Packs, Non-food relief items and cash assistance from Emergency Cash Transfer and Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS)

Thru the full support and guidance of DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian, DSWD Bicol remains steadfast in its commitment to the well-being and safety of the affected communities of this Mayon Volcanic eruption and all the other potential disasters that may arise. ###