The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) gave updates on its relief efforts in Surigao. DSWD Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo said that the Field Office in Caraga continues its efforts to assist residents affected by last Friday’s earthquake and the aftershocks which continue to hit the region three days later.
“We have established a more orderly system of relief distribution in coordination with the local government units (LGUs) down to the barangay level. Our Field Office staff and officials are doing their best to respond to the situation and release what assistance the DSWD can provide our people at the soonest possible time,” said Sec. Taguiwalo.
Sec. Taguiwalo said that based on reports from DSWD Caraga, as of February 15, 2017, only 15 barangays out of 54 in Surigao City have not been given assistance. These are Cagniog, Canlanipa, Capalayan, Lipata, Lisondra, Mabini, Mapawa, Mat-I, Nonoc, Quezon, Rizal, San Jose, Sugbay, Taft, and Washington. Officials of these barangays have yet to submit their lists and have not withdrawn their respective allocations. It was agreed during the meeting last Monday that the said list of totally and partially damaged houses will be used as the basis for augmentation.
DSWD Caraga officials and staff were in Anao-aon yesterday, and the day before, where the FO conducted a distribution drive in Brgy. Poblacion. The FO also provided augmentation support to the province last February 11-12. Some 1,302 family food packs will be released to the municipality as an augmentation support.
Currently, efforts to transport the goods are meeting challenges because the bridge connecting Surigao City and the municipality was damaged by the Feb. 10 earthquake. The detour being used passes through a wide quarry, and a river also has to be crossed.
Some residents from Brgys. Lipata, Cagniog, Canlanipa, Mabua, San Juan, Washington, Luna, Sabang, Taft, and Mat-I were present during the initial distribution drive last Sunday. Residents from these barangays also received donations from other non-government organizations and private institutions, as well as other LGUs. All of these entities provided assistance similar to what the DSWD provides (family food packs and drinking water). Also, some barangay units which were already assisted distributed family food packs to their residents, both Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program members and non-members.
Field Office Caraga staff and officials are also in Surigao City now to continue data validation and to scout the area for possible camping grounds for residents who leave their houses at night because they want to avoid possible aftershocks. They are being given laminated sacks.
Included in the 15 barangays are those in island communities; residents have been unable to get their assistance and we cannot go to them either because of the massive waves.
“We assure the Filipino people that we are doing our best to help our kababayans in Surigao. We laud the efforts of other agencies and NGOs to also help Surigao and all those affected by the earthquake. We need to cooperate and coordinate our efforts so we can reach and provide for all those who need,” said Sec. Taguiwalo.