BANGUED, Abra -- Relief operations are still ongoing in the province as more goods from the national and provincial are coming in.

Rapid Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis (RDANA) Mission Team from the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Cordillera earlier emphasized the urgency of delivering the relief goods to the disaster stricken municipalities with major road networks to the upland communities remain impassable and many families have been rendered homeless due to super typhoon Lawin that badly hit Abra last month.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Abra headed by Myrna Bersalona had earlier prepositioned relief goods, both food and non-food items, to the different municipalities prior to the onslaught of Typhoon Karen and catered to the needs of the evacuees that were hit by Lawin.

The RDANA Mission Team recommended for an augmentation supply of relief goods because people who have been affected of their livelihood or those who have to rehabilitee their houses blown by the furious winds of Lawin need to be given food assistance.

Meanwhile, Ligaya Apolinar, out-going manager of the National Food Authority – Abra Field Office, assured members of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) there is enough supply of rice for Abra.

Vice-Governor Ronald Balao-as who served as acting chairman of the PDRRMC and Provincial Administrator Michael Bersamira have expressed disgust over NFA’s refusal to release rice to the province immediately after the typhoon for failing to submit the documentary requirements particularly the memorandum of agreement.

They said NFA should be more lenient with their policies for humanitarian consideration since Abra had already been declared under a state of calamity.

Apolinar however explained the NFA policy regarding releases of rice since they, like any other government entity, are subject to auditing rules and regulations and has elevated the matter to her superiors to resolve the issue.

To avoid further problems, just recently, Abra and NFA signed an MOA for the allocation of rice stock during disasters.

With the MOA, NFA can readily release rice to requesting LGU for distribution to families affected by natural calamities or for stand-by rice buffer to assure ready supply of food in their areas in times of typhoons and other disasters.

The MOA allows recipient LGUs to pay the “rice loan” later when situation gets normal. (Maria Teresa Beñas/PIA-CAR)