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Pwede nang umuwi! Al Bichara allows Albay evacuees to decamp

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LEGAZPI CITY — Close to 200,000 evacuees in Albay who sought refuge in private and public evacuation camps were allowed to return home on Tuesday afternoon, the Albay Public Safety Emergency and Management Office (APSEMO) said.

Apsemo chief Cedric Daep said the decampment order signed by Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara left to the discretion of all local disaster councils their respective decamping procedures.

Bichara, in an interview, said the decampment order was due to the improved weather condition prevailing in the province after the onslaught of Typhoon “Tisoy” (Kammuri) that battered the provinces of Sorsogon, Albay and Masbate on Monday night.

Bichara said so far, the province has maintained its “Zero Casualty” goal in various disaster operations.

APSEMO data indicate that 23,441 families or 84,156 individuals in the first district of Albay covering the towns of Tiwi, Malinao, Malilipot, Bacacay, Sto Domingo and Tabaco were allowed to decamp.

In the second district, 18,775 families or 74,303 individuals in the towns of Rapu-rapu, Manito, Daraga, Camalig and Legazpi City were given clearance to return home while 6,826 families or 25,664 individuals from the towns of Guinobatan, Oas, Polangui, Libon, Jovellar, Pio Duran and Ligao City in the third district were likewise allowed to go home.

Meanwhile, over 2,000 passengers remained stranded in the ports of Sorsogon, and Masbate on Tuesday morning as Signal No. 2 remained hoisted over the Bicol provinces, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said.

Classes in all levels likewise remained suspended and will resume when the weather improves in the six Bicol provinces, the OCD added.

Eric Apolonio, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) spokesperson, in a phone interview, said the Legazpi Airport passenger terminal was heavily damaged by Typhoon Tisoy.

However, the airport runway is operational including the airport tower.

Full airport operation will resume as soon as the CAAP team finishes its assessment and gives a clearance.