The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), through its Field Office (FO) in Region VI, continues its preparations to assist the families that will be affected by the impending closure of Boracay.

Last week, the regional office convened a meeting with representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Office of Civil Defense (OCD), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and the Philippine Army (PA) to discuss measures on how to effectively assist families who were given notices to vacate their houses.

Based on the initial report from the region, 28 households were given notices. Of the given number, 15 families are under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

DSWD Officer-in-Charge Emmanuel A. Leyco assures the families that will be affected that the Department’s FO VI, headed by Regional Director Rebecca P. Geamala, has already prepositioned relief items in strategic locations in Aklan which can be augmented to affected local government units (LGUs).

“We continue our efforts to determine the needs of informal settler families in need of relocation and initial assistance. Our social workers are closely monitoring the situation in the affected barangays and our officials are in constant coordination with the LGUs which are the primary responders to see if they need any augmentation assistance,” DSWD OIC Leyco  said.

“We want to get a firm understanding of the situation on the ground so that the preparations to help those who will be affected by Boracay’s six-month closure and the impending demolition will be adequate and sufficient,” he continued.

DSWD FO VI has a standby fund of P6.2 million for disaster operations and maintains a stockpile of 30,000 family food packs which can be downloaded to LGUs as augmentation support if they find it necessary.

The OIC also confirmed that a One-Stop-Shop Operation Center will be established in Boracay as an improvement on the existing DSWD operation center which opened last April 7.

“We are aware that the programs and services of the DSWD are not enough to accommodate all the needs of the people who will be affected, and this is the reason why we established the One-Stop-Shop so that there will be a venue for convergence of all the efforts of different government agencies, especially when it comes to health, employment, education, and other needs of the communities,” said the OIC. “The agencies of the national government are working together to pool resources and program to help the families and communities that will be affected.”

Aside from the One-Stop-Shop, the regional office reported that there will be 150 staff members who will validate the list of affected households and that its Quick Response Team has already been reactivated for the upcoming closure of the island.

OIC Leyco also assured that non-Malay, Aklan residents who will be affected can immediately avail of the Assistance to Individuals and Families in Crisis Situation (AICS) program of the Department.

Under the AICS program, qualified indigent, marginalized, poor, or disadvantaged individuals or families may avail of any medical, educational, burial, or transportation assistance as immediate assistance or safety net to help them recover from any crisis situation. ###