Government agencies spearheading relief efforts have assured President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday that they have enough resources to address the damage brought by Tropical Storm Auring in the CARAGA Region.
During the situation briefing in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado told President Duterte that different departments still have ample funds that could be tapped from their Quick Response Fund (QRF) to respond to the calamity.
Avisado reported that the Department of Agriculture (DA) has P1 billion; Department of the Interior and Local Government-Bureau of Fire Protection (DILG-BFP), P50 million; DILG-PNP, P50 million; Department of National Defense-Office of Civil Defense (DND-OCD), P500 million; Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) P1 billion; and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), P1.2 billion.
He said other departments have programs that enable them to provide immediate assistance such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Department of Energy (DOE).
“As a whole, it’s really the whole-of-government approach that we are adopting so that we can respond immediately to situations,” Avisado said.
“Despite that, even if there will be additional damages, the situation here is not comparable to the extent of the damage caused by Typhoons Quinto, Rolly and Ulysses. The damages then were massive,” he added.
Based on the report of the Office of Civil Defense and DSWD, the Office of the President was able to give additional funds directly to the local government units (LGUs) to augment their calamity funds, according to Avisado.
Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Bautista also reported that the department has already provided family food packs to the survivors.
A total of 15,000 family food packs was prepositioned in Surigao del Sur and some 8,000 packs were brought to CARAGA field office for distribution. An additional 7,000 family food packs will be arriving Wednesday.
Bautista told the President that the department has allotted P22.09 million for its standby fund and for the department’s stockpiles that include both food and non-food items. He said that the DSWD also has P459.8 million QRF that could be used in case there is fund shortage.
Some 3,658 families affected by the storm will receive P3,000 each. Families whose houses were totally damaged will get P30,000 each. For the partially damaged, they will be given 15,000 each, according to the social welfare chief.
In addition, DOLE will provide 30 motorized fiberglass bancas for every municipality in Surigao del Sur. At the same time, the labor department will spearhead an emergency employment program for 10 days to 250 workers who will be receiving minimum wage rate, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said. Every municipality in the province could avail DOLE’s emergency employment scheme.
Meanwhile, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said that livelihood support funds such as loans would be provided to 1,000 small businesses affected by the storm.
“So doon naman ho may assessment tayo para babalikan natin ‘yan after one week kung anong tulong ang kailangan. Usually pautang o kaya ‘yong outright livelihood support fund. Puhunan ho ito. Iyong mga gamit na puwede nang paninda. So ‘yon ibibigay ho natin,” Lopez explained.
Also on Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary William Dar handed over P217.9 million worth of agricultural interventions to the provincial government of Surigao del Sur.
The weather disturbance, which inundated most of the CARAGA Region, affected a total of 29,000 families or 112,734 individuals, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported.
A six-year-old child was reported to have drowned in Claver, Surigao del Norte, and authorities said there were four missing and two injuries. Three of those who remain unaccounted for were fishermen who ventured at sea in Bislig, Surigao del Sur. PND