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Philippines prepares for Mayon

Mount Mayon
Some residents are refusing to leave the danger zone around the volcano  

Manila, Philippines -- The Philippines government is preparing for the imminent eruption of Mount Mayon in the central Albay province.

A danger zone with a radius of six kilometers (3 miles) has been declared around the smoldering volcano and 22,000 residents have been ordered to evacuate the area.

"We are ready. The cabinet is monitoring the situation," said Renato de Villa, executive secretary to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The government says all government agencies are prepared to deal with the possible eruption and five million pesos ($102,000) has been released by Arroyo to local governments.

About 27 volcanic earthquakes were monitored in the area in the last 24 hours and a crater glow was visible. Scientists say emissions showed Mayon was building up for an eruption which could come within weeks.

Some residents are refusing to leave their homes, preferring to take their chances. The last time the volcano erupted was last February when no casualties were recorded.

Mount Mayon is one of 22 active volcanoes in the country and has recorded 45 eruptions. An eruption in 1814 buried a town under ash and killed 1,200 people.

The last big volcanic eruption in the Philippines was on Mount Pinatubo in 1991.

Reuters contributed to this report.



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