QUEZON CITY, Jan. - Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo lauded the prompt disaster operations made by the local government units (LGUs) during the onslaught of Tropical Depression Auring, which has weakened into a low pressure area (LPA) on Tuesday, after bringing heavy rains over the Northeastern Mindanao and Western Visayas provinces over the weekend.
“We would like to acknowledge the efforts made by the LGUs when ‘Auring’ hit the country, starting from the preparation to the actual relief distribution which did not require much assistance from the DSWD. This demonstrates that LGUs are indeed the prime responders in times of emergencies,” Sec. Taguiwalo said.
Before ‘Auring’ made its landfall in Northeastern Mindanao, LGUs of the provinces on its reported path had already started preparing for its possible effects.
The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) of the CARAGA Region conducted a pre-disaster meeting at the Office of the Civil Defense and carried out a pre-emptive evacuation of residents living in low-lying areas. The LGUs of the region also distributed family food packs (FFPs) to affected families staying in evacuation centers after ‘Auring’ hit the region.
Negros Island Region (NIR), on the other hand, alerted its Quick Response Teams (QRTs) and City/Municipal Action Teams (C/MATs) early to assist in disaster operations. It also readied its emergency tracking services to transport the prepositioned family food packs (FFPs) in the region whenever needed.
Region VII similarly alerted its QRTs early and evacuated residents affected by flooding in Brgy. Poblacion, Carmen, Cebu.
Status of affected families
According to the 4am report today by the DSWD-Disaster Response Operations and Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC), the weather disturbance affected a total of 9,132 families or 38,950 individuals from 167 barangays in Region VII and CARAGA.
Some 873 families or 3,655 persons are still staying in 20 evacuation centers in the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, and Surigao del Norte.
To date, a total of P1,825,799.00 worth of relief assistance has been provided to the affected families, consisting of P1,606,568.00 from the LGUs and P219,231.00 from the DSWD. The Department is ready to augment additional resources to the LGUs when needed.
LGUs as initial responders during calamities
DSWD Sec. Taguiwalo has earlier clarified the different roles of the Department and the LGUs during times of disasters.
She said that the LGUs are the first responders in the occurrence of natural and man-made calamities, based on Republic Act (RA) 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, while the DSWD provides the basic needs of disaster-affected families by prepositioning family food packs (FFPs) and standby funds.
Other than RA10121, RA 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991 also stipulates that LGUs have the responsibility to undertake rescue operations, provide immediate relief assistance, and set-up and manage evacuation centers at the first instance of disaster occurrence.
“The DSWD works hand-in-hand with the LGUs to ensure the provision of compassionate service to victims of disasters, helping them to bounce back and eventually lead normal lives again,” the welfare chief said. (DSWD)