DSWD Mindanao field offices on high alert following strong quake

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian on Friday immediately directed its field offices (FOs) in Mindanao to be on high alert and ready to assist local government units that may be 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,' Gatchalian told DSWD regional directors in Mindanao. He 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,' Gatchalian said. A magnitude 7.2 earthquake occurred 30 kilometers off Sarangani in Davao Occidental at 4:14 p.m., according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. The earthquake was felt in the surrounding provinces of South Cotabato, D avao del Sur, and Sultan Kudarat. The DSWD-Disaster Response Management Group (DRMG) has also been alerted to ensure that all essential help is provided the soonest. In the latest report of the DRMG, PHP1.43 billion worth of food and non-food items are available from disaster response teams nationwide. 'The department has adequate stockpiles and standby funds to assist our kababayans (countrymen) in Mindanao. Currently, we have PHP29.16 million Quick Response Fund 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 in a news release. '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,' Lopez added. The DSWD has prepositioned family food packs (FFPs) and other relief items consisting of 125,770 FFPs in Disaster Response Cente rs, 99,302 of which are at the National Resource Operations Center in Pasay City and 26,468 at the Visayas Disaster Resource Center in Mandaue City. Around 140,579 FFPs are accessible at DSWD Field Offices in Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, Soccsksargen and in other possible earthquake-affected areas. Source: Philippines News Agency