The Philippine defense chief has recommended that villages in a danger zone around erupting Mount Mayon be turned into a permanent "no man's land" to avoid evacuating thousands of residents each time the country's most active volcano explodes.

President Rodrigo Duterte backed the recommendation of his defense secretary, Delfin Lorenzana, during a meeting Monday with officials dealing with the two-week eruption of Mayon, which has displaced more than 80,000 villagers in northeastern Albay province.

The proposal, however, is complicated given that thousands of impoverished villagers have settled through the years inside a government-declared 6-kilometer (3.7-mile) permanent danger zone around Mayon, where they have survived on farming and lived for generations.

Mayon has been belching red-hot lava fountains, huge columns of ash and molten rocks into the sky.