DSWD transitions to cash aid for calamity-stricken families

The entire province of Davao del Norte is set to be placed under a state of calamity following severe flooding in six towns and two cities due to intermittent rains from the shear line weather system in Mindanao.
The entire province of Davao del Norte is set to be placed under a state of calamity following severe flooding in six towns and two cities due to intermittent rains from the shear line weather system in Mindanao. Edwin Jubahib/Facebook

THE Department of Social Welfare and Development-Davao Region (DSWD-Davao) is now implementing the provision of emergency cash transfer assistance to families affected by weather disturbances in the region.

DSWD-Davao Regional Director Vanessa Goc-Ong said there were three major calamities early this year that hit the region: the shear line, the trough of the low-pressure area, and consequently, due to rains weakening the soil, the Masara landslide.

She said that as an initial response, they were able to provide 474,523 family food packs with a budget amounting to P318.4 million.

In conjunction with family food packs, a total of 3,322 non-food items amounting to P7,073,859 were also given to the affected families. These include family kits, modular tents, sleeping kits, hygiene kits, jerry cans, family tents, and kitchen kits.

“We provided for the family food packs at that time when the incident was very fresh, kay lubog ang community, sarado mga tindahan and walang mabilihan (the community is submerged, stores are closed, and there’s no place to buy goods) so ang family food packs ang  most responsive response at that time,” Goc-ong said during her guesting at the recent Kapehan sa Davao at SM City Davao organized by the Philippine Information Agency.

“Because humupa na po ang baha, nag-open na mga stores, nakabalik na sa normal activities ating families, we have now transitioned from food to cash; our cash assistance is in the form of emergency cash transfers,” Goc-ong said.

(Since the flood has subsided, the stores have opened, and families have returned to their normal activities)

The DSWD had already implemented the Emergency Cash Transfer in Davao del Norte with a target of 70,000 beneficiaries, but there are plans to increase the number of beneficiaries based on data from the Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO).

“As of today, we started in Davao Oriental. Target beneficiaries will reach more than 100,000 based on the DROMIC report. In Davao de Oro, we are also facilitating so we can start the distribution of assistance so simultaneous na in all provinces,” Goc-Ong said.

In Davao Oriental, Goc-ong revealed that the cash distribution commenced on March 4. Based on the PDRRMO DROMIC report, more than 100,000 families in the province were expected to receive the cash assistance.

She added that in Davao de Oro, they are currently facilitating the final list of beneficiaries, as there were also some changes to their initial list to officially start the payout.

Goc-ong stressed that all families, whether affected directly or indirectly by the disaster, will receive the said cash assistance.

“We emphasized that those families who really experienced flooding, vis-à-vis the families who were hampered from going to and from work because of the landslide, their pananom (crops) were flooded were still indirectly affected by the disaster, so they should be qualified also regardless if ang bahay talaga nila ay hindi nabahaan (their houses were not flooded),” she explained.

According to her, the purpose of emergency cash transfer is for the families to be able to buy what they deem fit for house repairs, materials, things in the homes that were damaged, or food.

“For the ECT, based on our guidelines, the computation is based on the minimum wage rate of the region, and we compute it times 75 percent and times the number of days that are allocated,” Goc-ong said.

She added, “It could be 15 days, or it could be 30 days, depending on the recommendation on the ground. If it is computed for 30 days, the beneficiary could receive P9,960; if it is 15 days, it could be half of that.”

Nevertheless, she explained, “Sa Davao de Oro nasa 15 days lang compared natin in other provinces because nga sa kanilang DROMIC report at the time of doing the proposal (it only took 15 days compared to other provinces because of their DROMIC report at the time of doing the proposal) it’s only 43,000, but because the mayors really pushed and said otherwise that there are more than 43,000.”

To accommodate all directly and indirectly affected residents in the province, Goc-ong revealed that, based on the recommendation, they came to 15 days.

Also, Goc-ong emphasized that the DSWD facilitated the cash distribution and distributed it directly to beneficiaries.

“It is directly distributed by the DSWD. Hindi sya fund transfer directly to the LGU. Direct s’ya na payout from our staff,” she explained.

("It is directly distributed by the DSWD. It's not a fund transfer directly to the LGU. It's a direct payout from our staff.) PIA DAVAO


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