The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Field Office (FO) IX, through the local government units (LGUs) of Jolo, Sulu and Zamboanga City, has extended relief supplies and medical assistance to the survivors of the bombing incidents that occurred in the two areas on January 27 and 30, respectively.

The FO, in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), immediately sent via C130 family food packs (FFPs), hygiene kits, and sleeping kits worth P147,240.91 to the survivors of the Jolo blast incident who have been admitted to various hospitals.

Aside from food and non-food items, the FO, through its Crisis Intervention Unit (CIU), has also provided a total of P145,000 outright medical assistance at P5,000 each to 29 Jolo blast survivors and P81,650 medical aid through guarantee letter to two wounded individuals. It also extended P15,000 total worth of burial assistance to three bereaved families at P5,000 each.

FO social workers are continuously conducting hospital visits to interview the wounded individuals and determine other assistance that they may need.

Likewise, in the Zamboanga City incident, the FO continues to coordinate and work with the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) for the provision of additional assistance to the survivors and bereaved families of the deceased.

According to the Local Government Code of 1991 and Republic Act No. 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, LGUs are at the frontline of emergency measures as may be necessary during and in the aftermath of man-made and natural disasters and calamities. The LGUs, through the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (LDRRMC), shall take the lead in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from the effects of any disaster.

The DSWD, in turn, is mandated to provide augmentation support to the LGUs and assist in capacitating them to handle emergencies or calamities. As the Vice Chairperson for Disaster Response, the Department is in-charge of the provision of food and non-food items in affected LGUs in cases where prepositioned resources are used during disaster period; ensuring the availability of safe, secure, and accessible evacuation centers; and protection of internally displaced persons inside and outside evacuation centers. ###