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Social welfare dept lauds LGUs' quick response during onslaught of ‘Auring’

MANILA, Jan. 11 (PNA) -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Wednesday commended the local government units (LGUs) that quickly responded to help victims during the onslaught of Tropical Depression Auring, which dumped heavy rains over northeastern Mindanao and Western Visayas 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,” said Secretary Judy Taguiwalo.

Taguiwalo said that before ‘Auring’ made landfall in northeastern Mindanao, LGUs held a pre-disaster meeting at the Office of the Civil Defense of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) of the Caraga region and led the preemptive evacuation of residents living in low-lying areas. They also distributed family food packs (FFPs) to families in evacuation centers.

She said the Negros Island region alerted its quick response teams (QRTs) and city/municipal action teams (C/MATs) to assist in disaster operations, and readied its emergency tracking services to transport the prepositioned FFPs in the region. The Central Visayas region similarly alerted its QRTs early and evacuated residents affected by flooding in Barangay Poblacion, Carmen, Cebu.

According to the 4 a.m. report on Wednesday of the DSWD-Disaster Response Operations and Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC), ‘Auring’ affected 9,132 families or 38,950 individuals from 167 barangays in Central Visayas 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, PHP1.82 million worth of relief assistance has been provided to the affected families, consisting of PHP1.60 million from the LGUs and PHP219,231 from the DSWD.

The department assured that it is ready to send additional resources to the LGUs when needed, as part of its role to provide additional assistance to the vulnerable sector in times of calamities and disasters.

Taguiwalo reiterated that the LGUs are the first responders during natural and man-made calamities, as stated in Republic Act (RA) 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010. 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 when disasters occur.

“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 social welfare chief said. (PNA)

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