Members of the Quick Response Team (QRT) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), led by DSWD Field Office CALABARZON Director Annie Mendoza, have been deployed since Sunday, January 12, to areas around Taal Volcano to assist local government units (LGUs) in responding to the needs of residents affected by its phreatic and magmatic eruptions.

DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista, together with the QRT and Assistant Secretary for Office of the Secretary Concerns Jose Antonio R. Hernandez, was in Talisay on Sunday, January 12, to check on the evacuees particularly in the most affected town of Talisay. When Alert Level 4 was declared, which requires evacuation in areas within the 14-kilometer radius from the crater, Secretary Bautista and the DSWD disaster team helped in moving out the affected residents to Sto. Tomas and Nasugbu.

In a late evening radio interview on January 12, the Secretary emphasized that the evacuation was based on the contingency plan of the government. The disaster team stayed in Talisay until the last batch of evacuees was brought to the Sto. Tomas Gymnasium in Batangas which serves as one of the consolidating areas.

As part of the Department’s Technical and Resource Augmentation (TARA) function, it ensures the proper management of evacuation centers and that these conform to approved guidelines, like the provision of psychosocial intervention, in coordination with the Department of Health (DOH).

As of 6 pm today, January 13, the DSWD-Disaster Response Operations and Monitoring Information Center (DROMIC) reported that some 4,960 families or 21,937 persons from CALABARZON Region have been affected by the Taal Volcano eruption. All of them are staying in the 78 evacuation centers set up by the LGUs.

Meanwhile, DSWD Field Office CALABARZON has delivered more than P300,000 worth of family food packs as augmentation support to the LGU of Laurel. Likewise, there is an ongoing hauling of some 5,000 family food packs from the National Resource Operations Center (NROC), the DSWD’s main disaster hub located in Pasay City, to be delivered to the different evacuation centers around Batangas within the day.

Under the Local Government Code, LGUs are the first responders before, during, and after a disaster. They are primarily responsible for disaster preparedness, mitigation, and response.

DSWD, meanwhile, augments the resources of the LGUs as needed to respond to the needs/requirements of the affected families and individuals. ###