Sec. Taguiwalo joins Pres. Duterte, other cabinet officials in Catanduanes to check on families affected by ‘Nina’

Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo joined the team of President Rodrigo Duterte in visiting Virac, Catanduanes Tuesday morning to check on the condition of families affected by Typhoon Nina.

Catanduanes was one of the provinces battered by 'Nina', which made landfall in the island at 6 p.m. on Christmas day, toppling trees, cutting power and communication lines, damaging hundreds of houses, and displacing thousands of residents. Until Monday, the province was under typhoon signal number 4.

Taguiwalo said some 12,000 family food packs had been pre-positioned in the province even before 'Nina' made landfall, and 2,596 food packs were delivered Monday and 2,500 more were expected to be delivered Tuesday.

She said she joined a press briefing conducted by Catanduanes Governor Joseph Cua and Vice Governor Shirley Abundo, as well as other officials of the province to discuss the effects of 'Nina' in the Bicol region. Chairperson of Bicol's Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) Bernardo Alejandro IV presented the initial assessment.

"We are glad for the President's continued support for the DSWD's (Department of Social Welfare and Development's) efforts to provide immediate assistance to Filipinos affected by calamities," Taguiwalo said. "We want to waste as little time as possible to address the immediate needs of survivors of calamities and to respond to the calls of LGUs (local government units) for augmentation when it comes to relief funds and goods."

She noted that much still has to be done to make the department's response system as fast and as efficient as demanded by the emergency situation, "but slowly yet surely, we are improving as we go".

In line with this, she appealed to all LGUs to work hand-in-hand with the DSWD and its field offices in distributing aid to affected families. "We want to ensure that all the assistance meant for calamity survivors go to them," she said.

As of 2 a.m. Tuesday, 'Nina' has affected 27,085 families or 116,154 individuals in 395 barangays in the Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol and the Eastern Visayas regions.

Based on the latest assessments, some 22,078 families or 93,271 persons were still staying in 367 evacuation centers, while 1,206 families or 5,243 persons were with relatives and friends.

Meanwhile, the number of damaged houses has increased to 334 in Mimaropa, 293 of which were partially damaged and 41 were totally damaged.

As of 2 a.m. Tuesday, 16,155 passengers remained stranded in 20 seaports -- two in Calabarzon, three in Mimaropa, 11 in Bicol, and four in Eastern Visayas.

Source: Philippines Information Agency