Gov't work resumes, curfew set in Negros town hit by Kanlaon eruption

CURFEW. Police personnel man the checkpoint in La Castellana, the locality worst hit by the eruption of Mt. Kanlaon in Negros Occidental, on June 6, 2024. Starting Friday (June 7, 2024), a curfew for individuals in public places will be enforced from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. “to regulate public and non-essential activities to ensure the safety of residents and to support the anti-criminality effort of the Philippine National Police during these times.” (Photo courtesy of La Castellana Municipal Police Station)
CURFEW. Police personnel man the checkpoint in La Castellana, the locality worst hit by the eruption of Mt. Kanlaon in Negros Occidental, on June 6, 2024. Starting Friday (June 7, 2024), a curfew for individuals in public places will be enforced from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. “to regulate public and non-essential activities to ensure the safety of residents and to support the anti-criminality effort of the Philippine National Police during these times.” (Photo courtesy of La Castellana Municipal Police Station)

Work in all government offices resumed Friday in La Castellana, the local government unit worst-hit by the eruption of Mt. Kanlaon in Negros Occidental, as the municipal government continues to monitor the occurrence of lahar or mudflow that affected several villages.

Mayor Rhummyla Nicor-Mangilimutan, who suspended operations of local government offices except those with functions on delivering basic services, disaster preparedness, and response on Wednesday, announced the resumption of work through an executive order issued Thursday night.

“To ensure the safety of the affected families and individuals, there is a need for manpower in the distribution of relief goods and services, provision of medical care, and humanitarian concerns in the delivery of public services,” Nicor-Mangilimutan said.

She added that work in private organizations is still up to the discretion of the owners or authorities.

In related executive orders, Nicor-Mangilimutan called on all municipal employees “to embrace the spirit of public service with vigor and humanitarianism,” as well as refrain from giving media interviews and providing unverified information regarding the eruption of Mt. Kanlaon and its continuing activity.

“All municipal employees, including job order and clean and green personnel, are mandated to do their task with regards to their scheduled duties,” she added.

“For purposes of transparency and accuracy of information, only the local chief executive shall give interviews."

Nicor-Mangilimutan authorized to speak on her behalf only the acting municipal police chief, municipal disaster risk reduction and management officer, and municipal social welfare and development officer.

She also ordered a curfew from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. starting Friday “to regulate public and non-essential activities to ensure the safety of residents and to support the anti-criminality effort of the Philippine National Police during these times.”

In an executive order, Nicor-Mangilimutan said curfew shall be imposed on individuals in public places except for government workers, as well as workers of private and public offices on duty during curfew hours, medical doctors and veterinarians whose services are needed, and workers of public utility companies conducting construction, maintenance, and emergency activities.

As of June 6, about 330 families or 1,285 individuals remained in various evacuation centers while 69 families or 384 persons were staying with other family members or relatives, data from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 6 (Western Visayas) showed.

After an explosive eruption on June 6, Mt. Kanlaon remains under Alert Level 2, which means “there is current unrest driven by shallow magmatic processes that could eventually lead to further explosive eruptions or even precede hazardous magmatic eruption.”

Following the incident of lahar or mudflow in Barangay Biak na Bato on Wednesday afternoon, the municipal government, together with the DSWD-6 and the Provincial Social Welfare office, decided to implement a preemptive response by asking residents within the 4-km. to 6-km. radius danger zone to evacuate to ensure their safety.

Obligatory prayer

The Diocese of Bacolod, meanwhile, urged the faithful to pray the Oratio Imperata (obligatory prayer) for deliverance from natural calamities for the people of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental from the effects of Kanlaon’s eruption.

In an interview Friday, Bishop Patricio Buzon said he has ordered the recitation of the obligatory prayer after the Prayer of Benefit at every Mass in parishes and communities, to collectively ask for the safety of everyone from the danger of volcanic activity.

Buzon, meanwhile, assured continued prayers for those affected in Negros Island, especially those who are currently staying in evacuation centers.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) earlier warned of the possibility of the volcano erupting again despite being slightly calm after Monday night’s eruption. (with Ferdinand Patinio/PNA)

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