By AARON B. RECUENCO
LEGAZPI CITY, Albay – Couples staying in evacuation centers are growing restless over their inability to share intimate moments, a common problem taken seriously by authorities.
With Mayon Volcano showing no signs of cooling down, temperature inside the cramped shelters has been running high.
Cedric Daep, head of the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office, said they are crafting interventions that would allow couples to enjoy privacy.
“We are aware of this special need of the couple and based on our past experiences, we really must do something about it,” said Daep.
Daep cited instances in the past wherein a sudden change of behavior – especially on the part of men – led to violent marital spats. Men hurting their wives or girlfriends were common, Daep said, citing several cases in the past.
To prevent this, Daep said they introduced interventions to address the problem.
One option, according to Daep, was bringing couples back to their homes inside the danger zone. They were allowed to stay there for an hour before they are hauled back to safety.
Daep said the first option fizzled out because the women were too shy to avail of it, and the few couples who tried it ended up whining. “They said the one-hour rule was too short,” Daep said.
Another option tried in the past was creating “love rooms” inside the evacuation centers. But again, the option turned out to be an epic fail. Some of the children would innocently call their parents or even knock on the door, according to Daep.
A third option had been tried with the collaboration of budget hotels near the vicinity of the centers.
Daep said the provincial government began distributing the so-called “tickets to heaven” for couples wanting to have a private time together inside the participating hotels.
However, Daep said the practice had to be stopped eventually. “We received complaints from some of the wives that their husbands are using the ticket with other women,” he said.
Daep said experts suggested providing entertainment for children like free movies or other activities that could make them busy. “We could play cartoons for children and other movies so that they won’t be bored or for them to relax,” said Daep.
While the children are glued on the screens, Daep said their parents can sneak out for some quality time together. As to where, Daep said they are still studying various options.