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 held yesterday, October 29, Secretary Erwin T. Tulfo ensured that the instruction from the President is clear to all Regional Directors of DSWD. 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,” Secretary 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.
Moreover, the Secretary 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,” Secretary Tulfo added.
Secretary Tulfo is set to meet again with the Regional Directors today, October 30 to gather updates on the disaster response operations of FOs and assess the appropriate interventions needed by the affected population.
Update on ‘Paeng’ disaster response
Field Offices along the path of ‘Paeng’ reported to the Secretary their disaster operations and relief efforts of their respective offices. As of 6 AM of October 30, more than Php 22.3 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 currently taking temporary shelter in 1,870 evacuation centers set up by their respective LGUs.
In addition, the Department recorded a total of 669 damaged houses, 123 of which are totally damaged while546 are partially damaged in Regions CAR, MIMAROPA VI, VII, VIII, X, XII, 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 operations
Secretary Tulfo said that 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,” the Secretary added.
As of 6 AM of October 30, the DSWD has stockpiles and standby funds amounting to more than Php1.4 billion: Php450,191,845.05 standby funds are 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.’
Meanwhile, the Secretary called on the public to remain vigilant and to follow the orders of their local officials to ensure their safety in this time of calamity. ###