As the Mayon Volcano continues to spew lava and sulfuric gas, putting thousands of residents on alert, Smart Communications launched #LibrengTawag, #LibrengCharging, and #LibrengWiFi stations to provide communication aid to the affected communities.
The telco began operating the free services on June 12 at several evacuation areas, where about 600 families have been relocated from the six-kilometer danger zone around the volcano.
The stations are located at San Jose Elementary School in Brgy. San Jose Malilipot, Albay and Bariw National Highschool in Camalig, Albay. They aim to serve the communication needs of the evacuees who may need to contact their relatives, friends, or emergency responders.
“The services of PLDT and Smart remain stable and operational in the areas affected by the recent unrest at Mayon Volcano. We have already deployed mission-critical equipment and personnel within the vicinity even before the eruption to assure our customers of zero disruption in our services,” said Cathy Yang, First Vice-President and Head of Group Corporate Communications at PLDT and Smart.
The PLDT Group continues to work with local governments and disaster response authorities in Albay province to monitor the situation and provide assistance as needed.
According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), Mayon Volcano is still under alert level 3, which means a hazardous eruption is possible within weeks or even days. The agency has recorded a decrease in seismic activity and sulfur dioxide emission at the volcano on Tuesday, but it is too early to say that it has calmed down.
Phivolcs has advised everyone within a 6-kilometer radius of the volcano to evacuate and warned of possible ashfall, rockfalls, landslides, and pyroclastic density currents on the south side of the volcano.
Mayon Volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines and in the world. It has erupted more than 50 times in the past 500 years. The last major eruption was in 2018, which displaced tens of thousands of people and damaged crops and infrastructure.
Phivolcs has urged the public to activate their emergency cell broadcast system on their mobile devices and heed the alerts and warnings of local governments and disaster response authorities.