AS instructed by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) provided immediate technical assistance and resource augmentation support to all local government units (LGUs) affected by severe Tropical Storm Paeng.
In a coordination meeting on Saturday, DSWD Secretary Erwin Tulfo ensured that the instruction from the President is clear to all DSWD regional directors.
He also reiterated that all Field Offices (FOs) should remain on alert and ready for disaster response operations.
“This is our time. This is our moment. It is our job to help those in crisis,” Tulfo said, emphasizing the significant role of the DSWD in times of disaster.
During the meeting, heads of all DSWD Field Offices shared the updates on their disaster relief efforts, including assistance provided, available standby funds and stockpiles of food and non-food items, as well as the prepositioned goods in the different strategic locations.
Tulfo also directed all FOs to frequently provide reports on their ongoing disaster operations following the order from the President.
“The President is asking for an update every hour. That’s what the President wants,” Tulfo said.
Tulfo is set to meet again with the Regional Directors on Sunday to gather updates on the disaster response operations of FOs and assess the appropriate interventions needed by the affected population.
Update on disaster response
Field Offices along the path of Paeng reported to Tulfo their disaster operations and relief efforts of their respective offices.
As of 6 a.m. Sunday, more than PHP22.3 million worth of humanitarian assistance, composed of family food packs (FFPs) and other non-food items, were provided by DSWD to the affected population.
To date, the Department recorded a total of 294,938 families or more than 1.2 million individuals who are affected by the weather disturbance.
Of these, some 39,111 families are taking temporary shelter in 1,870 evacuation centers set up by their respective LGUs.
The Department also recorded a total of 669 damaged houses, 123 of which are totally damaged while 546 are partially damaged in Regions Cordillera Administrative Region, Mimaropa, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Soccsksargen, and Caraga.
The Field Offices likewise assured that all Regional and Provincial Quick Response Teams (QRT) are still on alert and ready for possible deployment.
Sufficient budget for disaster ops
Tulfo said the Department has sufficient resources for its disaster relief operations and is ready for possible augmentation to LGUs.
“DSWD is ready. We have food items. We have non-food items. We have cash,” he added.
The DSWD has stockpiles and standby funds amounting to more than PHP1.4 billion: PHP450 million standby funds available at the Central Office and FOs; 535,536 FFPs amounting to more than PHP335 million; food and non-food items amounting to PHP708.6 million.
The DSWD assured that the agency will continue to coordinate with hardest hit LGUs to determine the interventions and assistance needed for families affected by Paeng.
Tulfo called on the public to be always vigilant and to follow the orders of their local officials to ensure their safety in this time of calamity.
Meanwhile the DSWD is calling for volunteers to assist the agency’s Quick Response Teams (QRT) in the repacking of relief goods that will be distributed to families affected by Paeng.
To date, the 91 volunteers are at the DSWD’s main warehouse, the National Resource Operations Center (NROC) in Pasay City, composed of members from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), barangay volunteers, Philippine Air Force, private individuals, DSWD-QRT members, and NROC PHILCARE personnel.
The repacking operations will be done daily until Nov. 11.
Individuals or organizations who are interested in volunteering may call Mr. Clifford at 0956-9226155 or Ms. Nica at 0915-2921875. They may also visit the DSWD NROC addressed on Chapel Road, Barangay 195, Pasay City.
The DSWD is hopeful that the “bayanihan” spirit between the public sector and private individuals and organizations will once again be evident during these challenging times.