Only 72 of 19,831 animals evacuated, says Albay vet office

Field personnel of the Provincial Veterinary Services Office of Albay are supposed to evacuate 19,931 livestock and pets in areas within the six-kilometer-radius permanent danger zone of the Mayon Volcano.

Since Friday, however, they have evacuated only 56 heads of cattle and six carabaos from the villages of Miisi and Salvacion of Daraga town and the villages of Anoling and Cabangan in Camalig.

Dr. Antonio Basanta, officer-in-charge provincial veterinarian, on Wednesday said most farmer-owners are resistant to their planned evacuation of their animals so they have stopped temporarily their operation since Tuesday.

"We always encounter farmers who refuse to evacuate their animals. We are now coordinating with local government units to convince farmers on the importance of animal evacuation," Basanta said.

The livestock population affected includes carabao, 2,588; cattle, 2,301; swine, 7,971; goat/sheep, 438; and dogs, 6,633.

These are in the municipalities of Daraga, Malilipot, Sto. Domingo, Guinobatan and Camalig and the cities of Ligao, Tabaco and Legazpi.

Most of the livestock are in the municipality of Guinobatan, which are projected to reach a total of 1,574 animals based on the data.

Basanta identified the animal shelters in affected municipalities and cities as located in: San Andres in Sto. Domingo; Philippine Coconut Authority area and Development Bank of the Philippines property at Barangay Banao in Guinobatan; Department of Agriculture-Albay Breeding Center in Cabangan, Camalig; Amtic area in Ligao; Barangays Malabog and Lacag in Daraga; Taysan in Legazpi City; San Vicente in Tabaco City; Paraputo in Malinao town; and San Isidro Ilawod in Malilipot town.

He said they have prioritized the working animals because most of these are situated within 4-kilometer radius of the volcano where grasses are believed to be more productive which serves as healthy food for the animals.

The provincial veterinarian admitted that they had been using only one animal transport vehicle since Friday, reason why they could not fast track the operation.

"We are given 4-6 days, but It's impossible to finish our target because of the long distance to reach these areas. We have to walk through mountains and these animals would also walk more than one kilometer to reach the location of our vehicle," he said.

Last week, Governor Joey Salceda also ordered the evacuation for livestock and pets after ensuring the safety of 11,255 families or 51,965 people living within the 6-kilometer-radius permanent danger zone who were evacuated in different schools in Albay. (PNA)

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