The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) expressed its deep gratitude to volunteers, private organizations, and other national government agencies (NGAs) who contributed to the Department’s timely and efficient provision of assistance to families and individuals who had been affected by the volcanic activities of Mayon in Albay.

“As we officially cap our relief efforts for the Mayon crisis, we thank everyone we worked with in our efforts to  deliver relief assistance to  Filipinos in Albay who had been affected by the series of eruptions of Mayon. Our gratitude  goes to the volunteers who helped in the manual repacking of relief goods at our warehouses; private and public donors who helped supplement our agency’s resources; and to our disaster-response agencies and partner-non-government organizations (NGOs) that provided logistical support in the delivery of our relief aid,” DSWD Officer-in-Charge Emmanuel A. Leyco said.

“Our strong partnership and collaboration during the time of crisis in Albay resulted in the prompt provision of relief assistance to thousands of families who fled to temporary shelters,” he said.

In January, thousands of residents from nine cities and municipalities surrounding Mayon Volcano, one of the most active in the country, fled their homes due to the threat of its series of eruptions and lava flow. The alert level of the volcano had reached level 4 due to its intense unrest characterized by persistent tremors, continuous lava eruptions, and dangerous pyroclastic flows.

According to data from the DSWD Disaster Response Management Bureau (DRMB), a total of 23,786 families or 91,055 individuals in 61 barangays in Albay were affected by the volcanic activities of Mayon, which lasted until March.

Of this number, 21,358 families or 81,556 persons took temporary shelter in 96 evacuation centers, all of which have now been closed.

Meanwhile, some 2,428 families or 9,499 persons temporarily stayed with relatives and friends during Mayon’s unrest. All of whom have now returned home.

Assistance and interventions

Three days after Albay ordered the evacuation of families within the danger zone, the DSWD, through its Field Office (FO) in Region V, quickly augmented family food packs (FFPs) and non-food items (NFI) to the provincial government of Albay and to the affected cities and municipalities. The Department continued to deliver relief assistance to ensure enough supply of food to families staying in temporary shelters.

Additional augmentation assistance was also provided to the affected LGUs through the DSWD’s “Hatid-Tulong sa Apektado ng Mt. Mayon Eruption” food caravan, which saw the delivery of 24,844 Family Food Packs (FFPs) to Albay through a fleet of 21 trucks. The caravan was participated in by disaster-response agencies and partner-NGOs which provided logistical support in the delivery of the aid.

To date, a total of P 418,450,648.95 worth of assistance was provided to the affected families; of which, P100,694,318.72 came from DSWD, P56,388,107.86 from the LGUs, P57,197,545.08 from NGOs, and P204,170,677.29 from other humanitarian assistance providers, including other national government agencies.

“During the crisis caused by Mayon Volcano, our DSWD FO V had worked very tightly with the affected LGUs, delivering them with much-needed relief goods for their constituents and providing them with technical assistance in relation to camp coordination and management,” OIC Leyco explained.

The DSWD also provided psychosocial intervention to residents in temporary shelters who had been traumatized by the eruptions. It also acted as co-camp manager for the evacuation centers in the Municipality of Guinobatan, deploying personnel to help in the management of camps in the town.

“To provide sources of income to evacuees staying in temporary shelters, the DSWD also inked an agreement with the affected LGUs in Albay for the implementation of Cash-for-Work. The Department has provided a total of P61,973,000 to 21,370 families who availed of the program,” the Officer-in-Charge added.

Timely, efficient Mayon relief efforts

All throughout the disaster operations,  the DSWD, as the Vice Chair for the Response Cluster, had been regularly presiding the Response Cluster Meeting for Mayon with Field Office V Regional Director Arnel B. Garcia  discussing important issues and concerns on the provision of assistance to the evacuees.

DSWD FO V had also been part of the Bicol Incident Management Team (IMT), a team composed of different government and non-government organizations with a primary role of establishing on-scene response operations during the crisis.

As part of the Bicol IMT, Field Office V assisted in the monitoring of the situation on the ground and kept track of all concerns, issues, and queries that needed to be addressed. It also deployed its emergency telecommunications equipment, which had been the source of the messaging system during the duration of the operations, facilitating quick and reliable communication among the members of the team.

The timely and effective delivery of relief assistance by the DSWD during the Mayon crisis did not go unnoticed.

During the Bicol IMT Demobilization and Closeout Ceremony in March, Director Garcia received a recognition from the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) Region V and Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) Bicol for leading the DSWD FO V, the Response Cluster Lead Agency, in the provision of relief aid during the Mayon disaster operations.

Director Garcia also received a plaque of appreciation from Presidential Adviser for Political Affairs Francis Tolentino, the Overall Mayon Crisis Manager, for the FO V’s invaluable support and commitment given to the Office of the President of the Philippines during the 2018 Mayon Volcano Eruption Crisis. ###