No holiday break in gov’t relief efforts for typhoon ‘Nina’ victims

A Cabinet official said there is no holiday break in the government's relief operations to help the victims of typhoon "Nina" which hit the country on Christmas Day.

"So, ngayon ko lang natanto na sa Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) wala palang bakasyon. Kahit holidays nagtratrabaho ang ating mga kagawad, yung ating Disaster Response and Management Bureau, ang mga field offices natin sa Regions 5, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, at NCR, at region 8 dahil nga sa pagdating ng Nina," said Secretary Judy Taguiwalo of the Department of Social Welfare and Development at a press briefing in Malacanan on Thursday.

Taguiwalo said the government continues with its response and relief efforts, in ensuring that the pre-positioned goods reach the affected municipalities and citizens.

The Disaster Response and Management Bureau reported the total figures of those affected by Nina are 813 barangays, 206,812 families, and 923,485 persons.

The Bicol region was the hardest hit as reported by Taguiwalo since Typhoon "Nina" made several landfalls in the area. Albay has the most number of affected people with 240 barangays and 100,000 families.

The DSWD Secretary said assistance in relief goods handed out to the victims of the typhoon amounted to a total of Php47,298,500. The bulk of assistance came from DSWD while some came from the local government units.

Taguiwalo gave an update on the Php1 billion earmarked by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for the DSWD.

"Iyong sa reseta ni President Duterte na yung isang bilyon na idina-download niya sa ating departamento ay inaayos pa ho natin yung guidlelines. Nililinaw lang ho natin na hindi ho pera ang ibibigay ng department," she said.

She clarified that a doctor's prescription should be submitted to the DSWD. Upon validation, instead of money, a guarantee letter for the different drugstores would be given.

Taguiwalo said although her department has not yet received the Php1 billion, they have already started the free medicines program.

Meanwhile, at the same press briefing, Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said majority of the Filipino people look forward to the coming year with hope and optimism.

"I have good news. Ninety five percent (95%) of Pinoys greet New Year with hope. The SWS survey taken from December 3 to 6 found 95 percent of adult Filipinos has said they are entering 2017 with hope rather than fear which is up from 92 percent last year," said Abella.

The survey was based on face-to face interviews with about 1,500 respondents, 18 years old and above, and the survey said that this attitude of hope is widespread in all areas; 97 percent in Luzon; 95 percent in the National Capital Region; 95 percent in Mindanao; and 92 percent in the Visayas.

Another good news Abella mentioned is regarding the bonus of Department of Education (DepEd) personnel.

He said that personnel in 9 regions of the Department began receiving their performance based bonus for the year 2015.

The bonus for the fiscal year 2015 will be given to school based personnel in Regions 4A, 4B, 5, 6, 11, 12, Caraga, CAR and NCR before 2016 ends.

Source: Philippines News Agency