Mayon eruption is biggest tourist event this year—Salceda

LEGAZPI CITY—Despite earlier pronouncing that disaster tourism is "neither a sponsored nor a promoted activity" in Albay, Gov. Joey Salceda said today that the Mayon volcano eruption is the biggest tourist event in the Philippines this year.

Mayon Volcano in 2014 (Photo by Shanti Nacion Serrano)
Nonetheless, he emphasized that the primary public policy goal is safety and not tourism promotion.

"We would rather have Alert 0 still gain a lot of tourists by investing in aggressive promotion rather than spending the same for protracted evacuation. Disaster tourism is not even a fourth-best policy option compared to Alert Zero tourism promotion," Salceda stated earlier this month.

Allaying fears from would-be visitors, Salceda said today that there is nothing to fear if one remains outside the 6-kilometer permanent danger zone (PDZ) and 7-kilometer extended danger zone (EDZ).
Lava, he noted, has never gone beyond the 6-kilometer zone since recording started in 1616, except towards Sto. Domingo. Pyroclastic flows, on the other hand, have not breached the volcano's 8-kilometer radius.

Salceda said that the local government units, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) "has evacuated every restless soul," in line with the province's zero-casualty aim.
The challenge, he admitted, is making tourists, particularly those from abroad, conform to the safety practices.

"We achieved zero casualty [during] the past three eruptions mainly through preemptive yet protracted evacuation," he recalled.

RELATED: Albay prepares for Mayon ‘big bang’

Last week, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) issued an announcement identifying the safe vantage points for watching the eruption. The same announcement also prohibited recreational and exploratory activities within the PDZ and EDZ.—BICOLSTANDARD.COM

RELATED: Which areas could be affected by Mayon's lava, pyroclastic, and lahar flows?

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