Philippines

DSWD Sec. Bautista and other cabinet members join Pres. Duterte’s visit to Itbayat

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Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Bautista, together with other cabinet members, joined President Rodrigo Duterte, who flew yesterday to quake-hit Itbayat to check on the condition of the affected families and to assess the extent of damage caused by the disaster.

Secretary Bautista and other secretaries from different line agencies, together with local officials, convened yesterday morning at the Basco Airport to assess the aftermath of Saturday morning’s earthquake while assuring that needed interventions are in place for the affected families.

Following the briefing, an aerial inspection for damage assessment of Itbayat was conducted with President Rodrigo Duterte, Sen. Bong Go, and Batanes Governor Marilou Cayco.

Prior to the meeting, Sec. Bautista also met with the members of the Social Welfare and Development (SWAD) team, who are assisting the local government of Itbayat in its relief operations, to discuss how the ongoing relief distribution can be more efficient.

The SWAD team has already started its disaster response operations on Saturday in coordination with the Provincial and Municipal Social Welfare and Development Offices.

The Department, through its Field Office II, has facilitated the delivery of 358 family food packs to Itbayat through a C295 plane.

The FO also met with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) for the deployment of one offshore vessel to bring necessary and urgent needs to the affected town. BFAR has offered space for food and non-food items in its vessel.

Moreover, the FO coordinated with the National Resource and Logistics Management Bureau (NRLMB), which manages the main disaster hub of the Department, for the delivery of 9,400 vacuumed pack rice and folding beds.

FO social workers also provided psychosocial intervention to five individuals after being airlifted from Itbayat to the Batanes General Hospital for immediate medical attention. They were given financial assistance amounting to P5,000 through the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations. Meanwhile, the DSWD-Disaster Response Management Bureau (DRMB) based at the Central Office will join the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) for the Rapid Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis (RDNA). DRMB has alerted all its Quick Response Team (QRT) members to be on alert status to provide augmentation support in the ongoing disaster operations. -30-