Amid queries from survivors of Typhoon Lawin on why the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has not visited their villages for relief distribution,  DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo asked for patience and understanding on this concern, but at the same time explained that relief assistance has already been delivered to local government units (LGUs) for their subsequent distribution to their typhoon-affected constituents.

“Tuloy po ang pagtulong ng DSWD at iba pang ahensya ng administrasyong Duterte sa ating mga kababayang sinalanta ng Bagyong Lawin. Hindi po natin kayang ikutin ang lahat ng baranggay dahil daan-daan po ang mga ito. Ibinigay na po ng DSWD ang assistance at relief goods sa mga LGUs, at ang LGUs po ang mamamahagi sa mga baranggay (The DSWD and other agencies continue to serve our fellow men who have been affected by ‘Lawin’.  We cannot go around all the affected communities as these are in hundreds. Nonetheless, relief supplies have already been given to the LGUs for distribution to their constituents),” Sec. Taguiwalo said today in her Facebook page.

“Makatutulong po na malaman ang hatian at tulungan ng iba’t ibang sangay ng gobyerno para sa mas maayos na paghahatid ng mga relief goods sa mga kapatid nating nasalanta (It would help to know the role delineation of various agencies for a smooth delivery of relief assistance to the survivors),” the Secretary added.

She said that while the DSWD provides the needed basic services of disaster-affected families through the prepositioning of family food packs and standby funds, LGUs are the first responders in the occurrence of natural and man-made calamities, based on Republic Act 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010.

Aside from 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 Local Government Code also devolved the basic services and programs of national government along disaster operations to a self-reliant local government. These include programs for evacuees and the conduct of disaster relief operations.

“The DSWD, in turn, is mandated to provide augmentation support to the LGUs and assist in capacitating them to handle emergencies or calamities,” the Secretary further said.

Sec. Taguiwalo expounded that DSWD augmentations are based on the  requests of LGUs and the corresponding assessment of Field Offices.

Although DSWD is not considered the first direct responders, the Department is always ready to provide immediate assistance to the LGUs.

Meanwhile, as of 6 am today,  a total of P51, 600,662.67 worth of relief assistance from the combined resources of DSWD, LGUs, and NGOs have been provided to affected families.

Twenty evacuation centers remain open, of which 9 are in Bulacan, 3 in Pampanga, 6 in Tarlac and 2 in Apayao, serving 1,038 families or 3,709 persons. ###