Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo and Australian Ambassador Amanda Gorely launched an enhanced humanitarian capacity of DSWD through the new Australian-funded warehouse at the DSWD National Relief Operations Center in Pasay City recently. The new Warehouse H has a floor area of 720 square meters, and a dimension of 36 meters by 20 meters and 10.50 meters. It can store 41,400 family packs and increases the warehousing capacity of the DSWD National Resource Operations Centre by one third. The assistance also included refurbishments in the National Resource Operations Centre such as installation of canopies and dock bumper in other warehouses, extension of the perimeter fence and installation of a sliding gate, and improvement of drainage and parking areas. Secretary Taguiwalo said that the partnership with Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) on improving the government's disaster management through the construction of a warehouse and other refurbishments was much appreciated. "Our Government cannot do the important work of responding to the needs of disaster victims alone. We need the help of all sectors to ensure that we can deliver prompt response every time a disaster occurs. With the construction of the additional warehouse, the Department is able to increase its family food pack production as well as maintain the quality of the relief supplies," said Secretary Taguiwalo. "I would like to acknowledge the leadership of Secretary Taguiwalo and DSWD on disaster and humanitarian response coordination under the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. DSWD has a very important role in the Philippine government system to deliver timely and effective emergency response to Filipinos in need. This warehouse is part of a larger program to build capacity for quick response and relief in emergency situations," said the Ambassador. The Australian Government provided a grant of A$3 million (PhP104.2 million) to the DSWD for the building of the warehouse, prepositioning of non-food relief supplies, and technical assistance to the DSWD on institutionalising policies and systems on disaster response. An Australian Civilian Corps specialist is working with the DSWD national and field offices in reviewing and enhancing the Department's disaster response strategy and operations plans. As part of its aid program in the Philippines, the Australian Government has contributed A$81.56 million (PhP3.26 billion) since 2006 to support the humanitarian efforts of the Government in response to several disasters, building disaster preparedness and community resilience. Australia's development assistance to the Philippines is focused on economic growth, education, peace and stability, governance, and where requested, humanitarian assistance.
Source: Philippine Information Agency