Social workers receive ‘thank you’ cards from Kanlaon displaced kids

BACOLOD CITY: For helping displaced families cope with the impact of the eruption of Mt. Kanlaon, government social workers received 'thank you' letters from children staying in one of the evacuation centers in La Castellana, Negros Occidental. Since the active volcano in Negros Island erupted on June 3, more than 4,000 individuals have been evacuated in the central Negros town, and social workers of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) led in facilitating proper camp management and providing psychosocial intervention to affected adults and children. May Rago-Castillo, information officer of DSWD 6 (Western Visayas), underscored the value of social workers in disaster response, in this case, the eruption of Mt. Kanlaon. 'The presence of social workers in disaster response is very important. We are not only talking of the provision of basic needs like food, shelter, and clothing. We are also talking of helping the affected families cope with the impact of a disaster,' Rago-Castillo said i n an interview on Wednesday. She pointed out that social workers have the skills to ensure that the children are safe and the women are protected, and to consider the mobility of persons with disability and senior citizens. Earlier this week, the DSWD-6 staff received 'thank you' letters from children staying at the La Castellana National High School, who wanted to express their appreciation to the social workers and support personnel providing assistance for their basic needs and helping them cope with living in the evacuation camp. A boy, who brought his school stuff to the evacuation center, said he and his new friends made cards and wrote thank you messages addressed to the staff of DSWD, Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office, and the Philippine National Police. 'Always keep safe. Thank you, Sir and Ma'am, for the malasakit at mapagkalingang serbisyo (compassion and caring service),' he wrote in the card. In one of the cards, the sender drew an image of the Mt. Kanlaon eruption, showing the iconic plume and ash fall and below it, a red heart. Social workers from the DSWD, provincial and municipal governments, and support staff are assigned to assist internally displaced persons across seven evacuation centers in La Castellana, where at least five villages at the foot of Mt. Kanlaon were the worst hit. 'It is only a social worker who has the lens to see through the vulnerable sector, assess their needs, and manage their cases,' Rago-Castillo said. She added that social workers also usher the displaced families toward survival and recovery, and help in their transition back to their communities, especially for those who have stayed in evacuation centers for so long. 'We hope this serves as a wake-up call for localities to hire more licensed social workers. A local government unit with enough social workers reflects a governance that gives importance to the well-being of the people,' Rago-Castillo said. Source: Philippines News Agency