DEPARTMENT of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian has directed its field offices in Mindanao to be on high alert and ready to assist local government units (LGUs) severely affected by the latest earthquake in the southern Philippines.
“The DSWD is on alert to ensure that all affected individuals will receive the needed assistance in the fastest time possible,” Secretary Gatchalian said to all DSWD regional directors in Mindanao.
The DSWD chief also reiterated that field office interoperability will be implemented to augment the regions hardest hit by the earthquake.
“This is to improve our reaction time in responding to affected families while ensuring that pre-positioned food and non-food relief items are effectively utilized,” Secretary Gatchalian pointed out.
A magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck southern Mindanao at 4:14 p.m. on Friday (November 17), according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).
The strong earthquake was felt in the surrounding provinces of South Cotabato, Davao del Sur, and Sultan Kudarat.
The DSWD-Disaster Response Management Group (DRMG) has also been alerted to ensure that all essential help is provided to the affected areas the soonest.
In the latest report of the DRMG, Php1.43 billion worth of food and non-food items are available in the agency’s disaster response teams nationwide.
“The department has adequate stockpiles and standby funds to assist our kababayans in Mindanao. Currently, we have Php29.16 million Quick Response Fund (QRF) at the DSWD Central Office, Php14.2 million available at DSWD FOs 10 (Northern Mindanao), 11 (Davao Region), and 12 (SOCCSKSARGEN),” DSWD Assistant Secretary for Strategic Communications Romel Lopez said.
“We also have Php65.9 million standby funds available in DSWD FOs which may support the relief needs of the families affected by the effects of the quake through inter-FO augmentation,” Asst. Sec. Lopez, who is also DSWD spokesperson, added.
The DSWD has also prepositioned family food packs (FFPs) and other relief items consisting of 125,770 FFPs in Disaster Response Centers, 99,302 of which are at the National Resource Operations Center (NROC) in Pasay City and 26,468 at the Visayas Disaster Resource Center (VDRC) in Mandaue City.
Around 140,579 FFPs are accessible at DSWD Field Offices in Northern Mindanao, Davao Region and SOCCKSARGEN and in other possible earthquake-affected areas