Bishops’ group targets priority areas for aid

THE Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) identified 12 priority areas to send aids for the victims of the recent calamity brought by torrential rains and massive flooding.

In its letter of appeal to all dioceses in the country, the CBCP – National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (Nassa) identified the 12 areas after these dioceses as sending immediate request for assistance.

These are the dioceses of Bayombong (for Quirino), Imus (Cavite), San Pablo (Laguna), Iba (Zambales), Malolos (Bulacan), Infanta (Aurora), Nueva Segovia (Ilocos Sur), Lingayen-Dagupan and Urdaneta (Pangasinan), San Fernando (Pampanga), Antipolo (Rizal), and Balanga (Bataan).

"These dioceses have confirmed their need for assistance while others are still conducting assessment of their needs," said CBCP – Nassa chairman Bishop Broderick Pabillo.

He noted that while the CBCP-Nassa has already released P2,134,500 from the Alay Kapwa Funds, it is not enough to cover the needs of the 12 dioceses.

"Our initial release of Alay Kapwa Funds as well as Dioceses that remitted or pledged their donation are still not sufficient considering that we now have a big number of dioceses to assist in their emergency needs. Your solidarity assistance is still very much needed," said the prelate.

Pabillo said cash donations may be deposited to the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) via Account Name CBCP Caritas Filipinas Foundation Inc. with Account Number 4951-0071-08 or at for online donations.

Since Sunday, several areas have been battered by torrential rains resulting to massive flooding brought by tropical storm Maring-enhanced southwest monsoon rains.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) authorities reported that the non-stop rains and massive flooding has affected 7,551 families or 1,256,508 individuals.

The Department of Health (DOH), meanwhile, is now urging evacuees to return to their homes already if they believe that it is already safe for them.

DOH spokesman Dr. Eric Tayag said, returning to their homes would be crucial in preventing an outbreak of diseases in evacuation centers.

"Kung nakakasiguro ng ligtas sa kanilang mga tahanan, mas makakabuti siguro na umuwi na sila. Importante na makapag-decongest para na rin sa kalusugan ng mga tao doon," said Tayag.

If not possible to come home, he said it would be a good strategy for evacuation center supervisors to segregate people in their respective places.

"Magandang practice na 'yung mga may kapansanan, buntis, senior citizens ay mailagay natin sa bukod na kwarto dahil sila ang delikado at may panganib na magkasakit," said Tayag.

He noted how the health department was able to observe the presence of overcrowded evacuation centers, which could make it easy for contagious diseases to spread.

"Sa mga evacuation center may overcrowding po. Nung gumawa kami ng rapid health assessment survey sa mga centers, nakita naming ang mga sakit na uso ngayon ay lagnat, ubo, sipon," said Tayag.

According to NDRRMC, some 41,344 families or 186,741 individuals are still in evacuation centers as of Thursday.

Since Wednesday, though, flooding has already receded in majority of affected areas, particularly in Metro Manila. (HDT/Sunnex)
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