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DSWD releases P154-M cash aid to 10.5K disaster-hit families in Bicol

By Connie Calipay


LEGAZPI CITY --- The Department of Social Welfare and Development in Bicol (DSWD-5) has distributed nearly PHP154 million in cash assistance to more than 10,500 families affected by various disasters that hit the region this year.


Claudio Villareal Jr., DSWD Bicol disaster response and management division officer-in-charge, said the cash assistance provided under the Emergency Cash Transfer (ECT) Program serves as early recovery support for immediate disaster relief and humanitarian response.


“For 2023, the agency was able to disburse PHP153.6 million ECT to 10,557 disaster-affected families in Albay, Catanduanes, and Camarines Norte provinces,” Villareal said in an interview Wednesday.


In Albay, the Mayon eruption response operation disbursed PHP136.7 million of ECT to 5,672 internally displaced families in the affected local government units of Camalig, Daraga, Guinobatan, Ligao City, Tabaco City, Malilipot, and Sto. Domingo.


“Each affected family, whose livelihood has been disrupted due to the Mayon eruption, received PHP12,330. The financial support assists them with their daily needs and consumption,” Villareal said.


In October last year, the three provinces were also devastated by Severe Tropical Storm Paeng, which caused 23 major damage to property, means of livelihood, roads, and lives of people in the affected areas.


As a result, the government declared a state of calamity in the affected provinces.


The agency disbursed PHP16.8 million to identify 4,885 affected families in the three provinces.


“The program is a testament to the commitment of President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. through DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian, to ensure the immediate delivery of services to disaster-stricken families in the country,” Villareal said.


ECT cash assistance is given to families in areas declared under a state of calamity.


Lahar monitoring


Meanwhile, the Albay provincial government is closely monitoring 35,000 families residing around Mayon Volcano due to the imminent threat of possible lahar flow triggered by a series of rains associated with a shear line.


Latest data from the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office indicated that heavy rainfall could potentially impact approximately 35,200 families or 132,933 individuals.


The population at risk hails from 112 barangays spanning 11 local government units, including Sto. Domingo, Bacacay Malilipot, Tabaco City, Malinao, Daraga, Camalig, Legazpi City, Ligao City, Guinobatan and Libon.


Residents in the identified areas to stay vigilant and follow safety advisories. The local government is also actively coordinating with relevant agencies to ensure the swift implementation of precautionary measures. (PNA)

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