Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Bautista (right), joined by DSWD Field Office II Director Fernando de Villa (center), and Assistant Regional Director for Operations Lucia S. Allan (left, partly hidden), hands the Department’s financial assistance to an affected villager from Pamplona, Cagayan.

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Bautista visited Cagayan province on November 20, 2019 to oversee the relief efforts and check on the condition of families affected by Tropical Storms Quiel and Ramon, which successively hit various municipalities in the area.

Upon arrival, the Secretary proceeded directly to the towns of Abulug, Pamplona, and Allacapan spending most of his time listening to families and individuals about their experiences during the most recent disasters to hit their hometowns.

Secretary Bautista also led the distribution of financial assistance, through DSWD’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS), to 2,316 families affected by Quiel and the tail end of a cold front in Cagayan earlier this month. 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.

In his statement, Secretary Bautista assured affected families of assistance based on the agency’s mandates and its existing programs and services.

Assisting the Secretary during his visit to the disaster-hit areas were DSWD Field Office II Director Fernando R. De Villa, Jr. and Assistant Regional Director for Operations Lucia S. Allan. Director De Villa also assured the different municipalities that the Field Office is prepared to provide augmentation support to local government units (LGUs) as first responders in time of disasters.

The mayors of the different towns expressed their appreciation for the Department’s efforts to assist them in their relief operations. Abulug Mayor Jesus Florencio A. Vargas thanked DSWD and recognized the Department’s commitment saying that the officials braved the rain and wind just to deliver the much-needed assistance.

 As of the November 20, 2019, there are a total of 1,863 families or 6,046 persons temporarily staying in 120 evacuation centers across 18 municipalities in the province of Cagayan.

The Field Office has extended 2,000 family food packs amounting to P720,000; 1,000 sleeping kits worth P690,000; and 171 boxes of candles to the affected families. -30-