Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian has directed the Field Offices in CALABARZON and Bicol to preposition at least 100,000 family food packs (FFPs) per region as part of the Department’s disaster mitigation and preparedness initiatives.

The DSWD chief’s order was in preparation for a possible eruption of Taal volcano in Batangas province in the Southern Tagalog region and Mayon volcano in Albay province in the Bicol region.

Speaking at the weekly Kapihan sa Manila Bay on Wednesday (June 7), Secretary Gatchalian pointed out that the DSWD is continuously preparing for any eventual eruption as the two volcanoes are consistently showing unrest these past few days.

Secretary Gatchalian told the media forum he had a phone conversation with Albay Governor Edcel Grex Lagman and he assured him that the DSWD is ready to respond in case a major eruption occurs.

“We continue to stockpile to make sure na kung mayroong mangyari, we are ready to augment the local government’s efforts. Kasi alam natin ang response, ang frontline diyan is the local government unit (LGU), but siyempre if overwhelming ang disaster, kailangan tumulong ang national government. I assured the governor kanina na we are ready and raring to help the local government” (We continue to stockpile to make sure that whatever happens, we are ready to augment the local government’s efforts.  We know that in response, the frontline response is to be made by the local government, but if it is an overwhelming disaster, national government must help.  I assured the governor that we are ready and raring to help the local government), Secretary Gatchalian said in response to questions from the media.

Mayon preps

The DSWD Field Office V in Bicol Region has already activated its Quick Response Team (QRT) to monitor the developments on the status of Mayon volcano.

FO V Regional Director Norman Laurio visited the warehouses in the municipalities of Bogtong, Camalig, and Pawa to check on the family food packs in the areas and see how these can be maximized.

The DSWD Bicol regional office also coordinated with the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) for the use of their warehouse in case it would be needed.

The OCD committed to provide half of its warehouse space which can hold 16,000 FFPs and also the use of its fork lift.

Personnel of the FO V also visited the identified evacuation centers in the towns of Guinobatan, Camalig and Daraga to check that the facilities are in good condition.

The DSWD’s National Resource and Logistics Management Bureau (NRLMB) unloaded on Wednesday 21,000 FFPs for storage at the Camalig warehouse.

“This very new and big warehouse will be utilized by DSWD Bicol for the stockpiling of food and non-food items for the Mayon Preparedness Operations of the agency courtesy of Albay Gov. Edcel Grex Lagman,” Regional Director Laurio said. #