LEGAZPI CITY, May 8 (Mabuhay) — Despite a phreatic explosion that killed five people Tuesday, the provincial government of Albay will not actively prohibit people from climbing Mayon Volcano.
Albay Governor Joey Salceda told reporters in a briefing on Wednesday that although the government does not promote or recommend climbing the volcano, it cannot prevent people from going even to the permanent danger zone if a major eruption is not imminent.
Salceda pointed out that when Mayon spewed ash and rocks on Tuesday, it was on alert level zero — and continues to be so even after the explosion.
“Essentially the controlling factor for human activity is the alert, not the permanent danger zone,” he said.
“The permanent danger zone refers to human habitation and business formation. Human activity is being determined by the level of alert,” he added.
As a matter of policy, Salceda said they prohibit people from climbing the Mayon if Phivolcs detects increased volcanic activity and raises the alert level.
He explained that this was not the case when groups of foreign tourists and Filipino tour guides went up the volcano before the explosion.
Salceda added that the government cannot monitor people climbing a volcano with an area of 25,000 hectares, although it only has three main entry points.
“Maski lahat tayo magkapit-bisig…hindi mo mababantayan ‘yan. Lulusot at lulusot ‘yan eh,” he said.
Salceda maintained, however, that Albay will never promote Mayon climbing as a tourist activity.
He said the province is able to draw hundreds of thousands of tourists who just want to see the majestic volcano without climbing it. (MNS)