The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has put in place “Oplan Linog” in the CARAGA region to make resources readily available to those badly affected by the 6.7-magnitude quake that rocked Surigao City last Friday. The plan will also facilitate extension of technical assistance in rescue and rehabilitation efforts.
Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo explained that through “Oplan Linog,” the DSWD can ensure fast and efficient delivery of relief to affected areas to avoid repeat of delays that happened the day after the quake.
Taguiwalo on Wednesday admitted that there was a delay on their part in distributing relief goods because “the DSWD failed to set up an effective distribution system.”
According to DSWD, the situation of the 74 displaced families or 370 persons remaining in tents at the Provincial Capitol grounds in Surigao City and the 1,567 families or 7,835 people currently staying in open areas were being monitored closely in coordination with the city’s local government units.
As of Tuesday, the DSWD already provided a total of P6.9 million worth of assistance to affected families in Surigao City.
Taguiwalo’s explanation was in reaction to the public’s accusation that there was a deliberate move to delay distribution of the relief goods because DSWD people were waiting for the President Rodrigo Duterte’s arrival for a photo opportunity.
“There was never an order to delay the release of relief goods and to wait for the president,” she said.
She said the relief operations in Surigao last weekend was not the first the DSWD undertook under her watch or under the Duterte administration.
“We have gone on relief operations with President Duterte in Batanes, Tuguegarao, Isabela, Catanduanes and Pili in Albay and there was never any issue about the distribution. Neither the president nor DSWD officials are in the habit of keeping people waiting for relief,” she added.
Meanwhile, Taguiwalo appealed to the public to send in their donations for the quake victims.
“The doors of DSWD are open to those who want to donate to the quake victims in Surigao. With ‘Oplan Linog’ in place, the donations can immediately reach those who are in need.”
NELSON S. BADILLA