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P20-M aid provided to El Niño-hit families in Bicol

LEGAZPI CITY --- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) provided almost PHP20 million worth of assistance to families affected by the El Niño phenomenon in three provinces of the Bicol Region for the past two weeks.

In an interview on Friday, Claudio Villareal Jr., DSWD-Bicol disaster response and management division chief, said they continue to send augmentation support to affected local government units (LGUs) through family food packs (FFPs).

“The El-Niño phenomenon being experienced in the region already caused agricultural damage and adverse effects in 31 towns and cities in the provinces of Albay, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon and Masbate,” he said.

Villareal said 28,851 FFPs were distributed from April 20 to date in Albay, Camarines Sur, and Masbate, while Sorsogon will pick up the assistance from warehouses.

Each pack contains rice, corned beef, sardines, coffee, and cereal drinks, enough to feed a family of five for at least two days.

Villareal also said DSWD-Bicol has stockpiles and standby funds amounting to PHP208 million for augmentation and distribution.

“We continue coordinating with the LGUs that have not yet submitted their letter requests (for assistance). For those LGUs that have submitted their requests, ongoing validation and assessment are being conducted, “ he said.

Based on the Department of Agriculture-Bicol report, a total of 11,252 hectares of land planted with rice, corn, and high-value crops have been affected by the dry spell, equivalent to PHP532.8 million total production loss. (PNA)

FOOD AID. Department of Social Welfare and Development-Bicol staff distribute family food packs to farmers affected by the El Niño phenomenon in Camarines Sur last May 16, 2024. The agency has provided 28,851 food packs worth nearly PHP20 million to affected provinces since April 29. (Photo courtesy of DSWD-Bicol)


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