DSWD to Lawin survivors: Report relief irregularities

>> Monday, November 7, 2016

DA Sec assures assistance for farmers, fisherfolks 

THE DEPARTMENT of Social Welfare and Development on All Souls Day (Nov. 2) urged survivors of Super Typhoon Lawin to report irregularities in relief distribution in affected areas.
"Immediately report to our field offices any irregularities in the distribution of relief goods in your respective areas," DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said as reports mounted over tampered goods and others not reaching beneficiaries.
"It is important that the people will know how local government units run their programs. This is why we release this kind of information so the citizens will get involved in running the government. The changes that we want will not happen if we don’t take action."
DSWD has been receiving reports of relief packs allegedly being tampered.
The welfare department encouraged citizens to report cases to its field offices: DSWD CAR - (074) 442 3946(074) 446 5961, 0906094106409491417232; DSWD Region I - (072) 888250509399586757; DSWD Region II - 09177710966 and DSWD Region III - 09088814109.
Citizens can also report relief-related concerns using the Agos eBayanihan's map or its free SMS service.
One of the strongest typhoons to hit the Philippines, Lawin left at least 16 dead in Northern Luzon, most from Cordillera. 
This, as damage to agriculture and infrastructure in Cagayan province reached at least P8.5 billion.
Meanwhile, Taguiwalo also expressed her gratitude to those who gave donations to the victims.
"We will use the donations we received to assist in the rehabilitation of devastated cities and municipalities, and most importantly, to help those whose houses, crops and livelihood were destroyed,” she concluded. 
This, as assistance from international and local agencies poured in last week for victims of Typhoon Lawin particularly in provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, Kalinga, Apayao, Ifugao, Benguet, Ilocos Norte, Mountain Province and Ilocos Sur which were placed under a state of calamity due to the damage from Lawin.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) said 745 metric tons of relief items would be sent to typhoon-hit areas.
The assistance included 75,000 family food packs, blankets, generators, solar lamps, and drinking water.
USAID committed $2 million to the Philippine government from 2013 to this year to improve disaster response.
USAID and the World Food Program said they would support the government, particularly the Department of Social Welfare and Development, to bolster disaster readiness and enhance access to vital relief materials.  
 The Cagayan information office said tons of relief goods as well as medical teams and rescuers have arrived in the province.
Damage to agriculture and infrastructure due to the typhoon in Cagayan was estimated at P8 billion. 
Taguiwalo said the department also provided up to P30,000 in emergency shelter assistance to families whose houses were either destroyed or damaged by the typhoon. 
The Department of Labor and Employment also provided assistance to families of overseas Filipino workers affected by the typhoon. 
Private organizations and institutions, local governments and private individuals were among those who responded to calls to assist typhoon victims.
In Tabuk City, typhoon- affected farmers and fisherfolks in Northern Luzon were assured support by Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol.
Piñol in a visit here last week, said immediate action that the DA will do is to ensure that the affected farmers and fisherfolks including their families would be given food assistance.
“We will make sure that the famers and fisherfolks would have something to eat including their family members and children,” said Piñol who met with local officials, farmers and fisherfolks and other stakeholders here.
He also ordered the validation of the damage and number of farmers and fisherfolk affected and identify delivery interventions such as seeds, fertilizers, and fishing equipment that would be given to the affected farmers. 
Lawin destroyed billions of pesos worth of damage in agriculture and fisheries particularly in Region 2 and the Cordillera.
Initial estimated typhoon damage of P10 billions was reported to the DA which covers at least five regions, Piñol said.
Aside from immediate action, the Secretary said he will consult with Environment Secretary Gina Lopez to look at deforestation of watershed providing water to Chico and Cagayan Rivers.
He will also recommend to the national government a serious study for the de-silting and dredging of the Chico River and Cagayan River which caused damages in the province of Kalinga and Cagayan during the typhoon.
“From the sky I saw threatening signs of an impending disaster. Another strong typhoon would possibly affect the towns beside Chico and Cagayan rivers when it overflows; the massive flooding could result to the loss of lives and properties,” said Piñol who conducted aerial inspection of the typhoon affected areas in Northern Luzon.
As of Nov. 2,  P 2,241,276,844.75 worth of damages was recorded for the agricultural sector in the Cordillera.
Abra had the highest damage of P83,331,966.53  followed by Kalinga with
P 614,743,181.65 and Apayao with P 424, 163,437.50.
Aside from the ravaged areas of corn, rice, highland value crops, cassava and livestock in the provinces, some municipalities of Apayao and Kalinga are still semi-isolated; some of the roads are passable but unsafe and several communities have no electricity and communication access.
Farmers appealed for assistance from the government for them to start new life. “We appeal for government help and assistance, so we can support our families and children to continue going to school. We are praying that God will help us,” said Clarima Pilig, farmer, a mother of 11 children, resident of Aurora, Pudtol, Apayao and an owner of 10,000 banana trees damaged by Lawin.
Meantime, consumers were affected with increased prices in vegetables and other agricultural commodities.
The Department of Agriculture –Cordillera conducted field validation of the damages brought by typhoon Lawin in provinces of the region last Oct. 24-28.

The final consolidated damage report will be the basis of the rehabilitation plan of the department to help the farmers with their losses. – With reports from L. Mendoza, J. Dayao and Reppler.com


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