“Our hearts and minds are with the thousands of Filipinos and their families who are affected by Typhoon Vinta and we promise that we are working around the clock to help the rest of the national government as well as local government units to ensure that assistance is extended to them. It is painful for us to receive reports of the increasing number of Filipinos affected by the typhoon, especially so that this is the Christmas season. We appeal to the rest of the Filipino people to please spare a thought for our kababayan who have lost their loved ones or those who are now in the evacuation centers and unable to celebrate with their families.”

This is the statement of Department of Social Welfare and Development Officer-in-Charge Emmanuel A. Leyco as he attended yesterday’s briefing at the NDRMMC in Camp Aguinaldo. OIC Leyco said that as per latest reports from the field, there are a total of 13,927 families or 59,851 persons are currently staying inside 213 evacuation centers in Regions MMAROPA, IX, X, XI, and CARAGA.

“We would like to assure the Filipino people that the DSWD is closely monitoring the situation and that our Field Offices in the affected regions continue to operate with no holiday break so we can provide all the assistance that is within our mandate to give to affected families. Our Field Office in Cagayan de Oro –DSWD-FO X —  has been directed to conduct monitoring inspection in Tubod and Salvador, Lanao del Norte and to check on the status and needs of the families affected by flashfloods due to Vinta. In the meantime,  Regional Quick Response Teams from Regions CARAGA, X and XI, MIMAROPA are still activated to provide Technical Assistance and Resource Augmentation to affected Provinces/LGUs and ensure that we can respond quickly to requests for augmentation and assistance,” said OIC Leyco.

The DSWD executive also shared that many internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Marawi who are still staying in tents were also affected by Typhoon Vinta.

“We have advised them to move out temporarily and stay in school buildings for safety. We are coordinating with the disaster and relief units of local government units on these efforts,” he said.

In Baloi, Lanao del Norte, 99 Marawi IDPs of Balono Evacuation Center were temporarily transferred to Baloi Central School due to damaged tents as a result of heavy winds. In Momongan Learning Center, 35 Marawi IDPs were temporarily transferred to Pacalundo Elementary School. Some 15 families staying in tents at Abdulhamid EC have been assisted to transfer to the Abdulhamid Madrasah for safety. The Iligan Operation Center has issued directive to all Camp Managers to monitor situation of evacuation camps occupied by IDPs of the Marawi siege 24/7.

“Disaster and relief units in Surigao City have assisted 16 stranded passengers, staying in Mariano Memorial School because the passenger capacity of vessels has been maximized. Thankfully, port operations in Lipata and in Surigao City have already resumed and shipping vessels are now permitted to travel,” he said.

OIC Leyco also shared that  DSWD Central Office is currently procuring more tents for IDPs.
“Our DSWD Field Office  9 is conducting assessment based on the request of  LGUs for augmentation support to affected families. We are coordinating with the Logistic Cluster for the transport of food and non-food items to  DSWD-FO X tomorrow, Christmas Day — our assistance will be comprised of packs of ready to eat arroz caldo (14,300 packs), brown rice bars (3,500 pieces), infant cereal (1,000 packs), laminated sacks (100 pieces), collapsible water containers  (2,000 pieces) , plastic mats (687 pcs), mosquito nets (2,000 pcs) and blankets ” he further reported.

In the meantime,  DSWD-FO CARAGA has released 500 Family Food Packs amounting to Php 141,900.00 to the affected families in Surigao City. DSWD-FO X also provided 254 family food packs in response to the request of the Local Government Unit of Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental.

“We are doing our best to see to it that our kababayan severely affected by Typhoon Vinta feel that they are not alone in facing these difficult times. The DSWD continues to serve with compassion and we will do our best to move as quickly as possible to ensure that assistance is delivered immediately to the affected communities. Our volunteer drive is also ongoing as we open our NROC warehouses in Pasay City to people who are willing to give at least four hours a day to help pack relief boxes,” OIC Leyco said.