Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo has emphasized the need to educate the public on disaster preparedness and mitigation.
With a strong earthquake that shook Leyte recently, Taguiwalo pointed out that disaster preparations must be given urgent and diligent priority by the national government agencies, local government units (LGUs), and more importantly by communities.
“I urge everyone to take part in and take to heart the lessons of the earthquake drills regularly implemented by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council,” Taguiwalo further said. “Ordinary citizens from all walks of life must become aware of the necessary precautions against and preparations for calamities.”
“Our goal is always to ensure zero casualties, and to reach this goal, everyone must become involved in efforts to prepare against disasters whether natural or man-made. The situation of the most vulnerable members of our communities such as children, senior citizens, and pregnant women must be given priority as well when considering measures to strengthen community resilience against calamities,” she added.
The July 6 magnitude 6.5 earthquake that jolted the towns of Kananga and Ormoc in Leyte has affected some 1,173 families or 6,020 persons.
A day after the tremor occurred, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Eastern Visayas Field Office sent 67 Australian tents, 58 tarpaulin rolls, 2,358 malong (native tube skirt), 679 blankets, 2,000 pieces of bottled water, and 679 family food packs as initial assistance to Ormoc City and Kananga.
Also recently,an additional truckload of goods was delivered to the affected LGUs. These include 500 family food packs, 1,000 pieces of hygiene kits and 1,000 blankets.
The DSWD is also augmenting the supplies of Kananga LGU to address the needs of the 90 families currently staying in the lone evacuation center in the town.
The department has also provided burial assistance to the two confirmed casualties of the earthquake, and currently facilitating the provision of an additional P5,000 cash assistance to the bereaved families.
DSWD-Eastern Visayas Field Office Director Restituto Macuto and his team have visited the affected areas.
During his rounds in the different affected barangays, Macuto asked the barangay officials to provide an accurate account of the displaced families so that appropriate assistance can be provided.
The DSWD reiterated that while it maintains close coordination with the LGUs, it emphasized that local governments are the first responders during disasters. The department can assist them by augmenting their relief resources to meet the needs of their affected constituents.
Taguiwalo urged families affected by disasters to approach their barangay (village) officials first should they need assistance as all DSWD field offices have prepositioned goods at the local level even before a disaster occurs.