By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has so far provided P35.262 million worth of assistance to families affected by the series of strong earthquakes in Central and Southern Mindanao.
Of the 52,728 families or 257,053 persons affected by the earthquakes, 11,830 families or 56,646 persons are still taking temporary shelter in 75 evacuation centers.
DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista assured the affected families that DSWD will continue to assist them until they recover.
Bautista has checked the situation of displaced families and monitored the relief operations of the Department.
Together with DSWD-Soccsksargen Regional Director Cezario Joel Espejo, the DSWD chief visited an evacuation center in the village of Meohao in Kidapawan City to check the condition of the evacuees.
Bautista first went to the province last October 30, a day after a 6.6-magnitude earthquake jolted Central and Southern Mindanao, to lead the provision of relief assistance to the survivors and assess the impact of the disaster.
Upon arrival in Koronadal City, Bautista visited and extended cash assistance to Erlinda Narciso, wife of Nestor Narciso, one of the fatalities in the earthquake.
He also visited Tulunan, North Cotabato where he expressed sympathy with the family of Maricel Marla, a pregnant woman who passed away during the tremor.
Bautista extended DSWD’s financial assistance to the bereaved family. The DSWD also covered the burial expenses of Maricel.
The Narciso and the Marla families are just two of the 18 bereaved families in North Cotabato who were provided with burial assistance ranging from P5,000 to P10,000 under the DSWD’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program.
AICS serves as a social safety net or a stop-gap measure to support the recovery of individuals and families suffering from unexpected life events or crisis.
Fifteen injured individuals were also given financial assistance through AICS.
DSWD-Soccsksargen also deployed additional personnel in various evacuation centers in North Cotabato to help in camp management and coordination, and in gathering information on the needs of the displaced families.