VICTIMS of super typhoon Lawin can avail themselves of calamity loan from the Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG Fund, Vice President Leonor “Leni” Robredo announced Monday.
However, only those residing in areas declared under state of calamity can apply for a calamity loan.
Robredo said she has instructed Pag-IBIG to identify areas where they can conduct Mobile offsite processing of calamity loan applications and deploy mobile Service Desks to accept loan applications.
Under the Pag-IBIG Fund’s Calamity Loan Program, affected members have 90 days to file from the date of the declaration of state of salamity. Loan applicants only need to present two valid IDs and a properly filled out Calamity Loan Application Form.
Among the provinces placed under a state of calamity are Cagayan, Mountain Province, Ilocos Norte, Kalinga and Apayao.
“Rest assured that Pag-IBIG’s regional offices are ready to help to speed up the processing of calamity loans,” Robredo, who also serves as the Pag-IBIG Chairperson in her capacity as the Chairperson of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, said in a statement.
“Our teams are complete, and the Pag-IBIG branches in Northern Luzon are open to process calamity loan,” Robredo’s spokesperson, Georgina Hernandez, said.
As for other typhoon-affected members, Robredo said Pag-IBIG will send a team to assess the damage on mortgaged properties in calamity-hit areas and assist them in filing their Insurance Claim applications.
“We have a Housing Business Center sa Tuguegarao and we are hoping that this will be able to help a lot of Pag-IBIG members,” Robredo said.
The Vice President visited typhoon-devastated areas in Northern Luzon and met with Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba, Isabela Gov. Bojie Dy, Rep. Rodolfo Albano of Isabela and other provincial leaders.
Robredo called on the government to speed up the grant of aid to those hit by the typhoon.
“The Vice President paid a visit to personally evaluate the damage and commiserate with the typhoon Lawin victims. The Vice President seeks to link the efforts of all government agencies involving health, restoring power and reconstructing school buildings,” Hernandez said.
“The Vice President knows all too well how dealing with typhoon can be such a struggle, considering that the Bicol region where she came from has been at the eye of the storm for several times in the past,” she added.
The Department of Agriculture pegged damage to agriculture and fisheries at P10.2 billion in northern Luzon, with rice, corn, and vegetable suffering the highest losses.
Malacañang also on Monday said the government will accept assistance for victims of natural calamities.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the Philippines will not reject foreign aid on the condition that it will not be a mechanism for the government to abide by powerful states’ dictates.
“Naturally, we are open to help, to aid from outside just as long as there are no strings attached,” Abella said in a press briefing.
Earlier this month, the President Rodrigo Duterte said that he’s willing to forego foreign assistance from the US even during calamities.
But Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said the government still welcomes donations from other nations.
“We welcome the foreign aid based on our needs and it should come without any conditions,” Taguiwalo told reporters.
She issued the statement when asked about her now viral Facebook post on Super Typhoon Lawin.
In her post, Taguiwalo said the government was not soliciting international aid because it has sufficient funds to address the needs of the affected families.
But she explained that her previous social media post only meant that the Philippine government was able to provide assistance to affected families during the onslaught of the typhoon.
“I would like to apologize if my comment sounded like we no longer need foreign aid. We were able to address the needs of the victims, before and during Karen at Lawin, we were able to help them immediately,” Taguiwalo said.
“We are still continuing with our relief programs. There are still many areas, isolated areas that have to be reached,” she added.
Taguiwalo said Cordillera has the most number of affected families at 66,875, or a total of 304,796 individuals.
“We are preparing a more intensive assessment and validation, so that the emergency shelter assistance can be done immediately. Tomorrow our teams will be coming back, we are going to have a debriefing meeting, assessing our initiatives and then coming out with plans for intensifying our intervention and assistance including if necessary providing personnel support to those regions from other regions of the department,” she added.