Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Bautista Joselito D. Bautista flew to North Cotabato on Friday to personally oversee the continuous relief operations of the Department to families and individuals who have been affected by the series of earthquakes that hit Mindanao.

Sec. Bautista, together with DSWD Field Office (FO) XII Regional Director Cezario Joel C. Espejo, visited an evacuation center in the village of Meohao in Kidapawan City to check the condition of the evacuees. He assured the affected families that DSWD will continue to assist them until they recover.

The Secretary first went to the province on October 30, 2019, a day after a 6.6-magnitude earthquake jolted Central and Southern Mindanao, to lead the provision of relief assistance to the survivors and assess the impact of the disaster. Upon arrival in Koronadal City, Sec. Bautista visited Erlinda Narciso, wife of Nestor Narciso, one of the fatalities in the earthquake. The Secretary handed cash assistance to Erlinda.

The Secretary also visited Tulunan where he condoled with the family of Maricel Marla, a pregnant woman who passed away during the tremor. He extended financial assistance to the bereaved family. DSWD also covered the burial expenses of Maricel.

The Narciso and the Marla families are just two of the 18 bereaved families in North Cotabato who were provided with burial assistance ranging from P5,000 to P10,000 under the DSWD’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program. Likewise, 15 injured individuals were given financial assistance through AICS.

AICS serves as a social safety net or a stop-gap measure to support the recovery of individuals and families suffering from unexpected life event or crisis.

Meanwhile, DSWD FO XII  has deployed additional personnel in various evacuation centers in North Cotabato to help in camp management and coordination, and in gathering information on the needs of the displaced families.

As of November 9, the DSWD Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) reported that a total of 52,728 families  or 257,053 persons  were affected by the earthquake incidents in 317 barangays in Regions XI and XII.
Of which, 11,830 families or 56,646 persons are taking temporary shelter in 75 evacuation centers.

DSWD has so far provided a total of ₱35,262,286.92 worth of assistance to the affected families. -30-