‘USMAN’ VICTIMS IN BICOL GET MORE AID FROM DSWD
ASSISTANCE. A Department of Social and Welfare Development (DSWD)-Bicol employee interviews Melissa Dubos, one of the “Usman” victims in Tiwi, Albay who received financial assistance from the agency. (Photo courtesy of DSWD-Bicol)
LEGAZPI CITY — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is providing continuous assistance to families affected by Tropical Depression Usman that triggered landslides and severe flooding in Bicol last December 28-29.
“DSWD social workers are currently conducting interview, assessment and payout to the reported families with death and injury among its members,” DSWD 5 (Bicol) Director Arnel Garcia said in an interview on Tuesday.
The agency, he noted, will provide a maximum outright cash of PHP5,000 for the financial assistance,” he added.
Melissa Dubos of Barangay Bariis in Tiwi was a recipient of the DSWD’s burial assistance. She lost her partner in the early evening of December 29 after he was injured by electric cables from toppled posts.
Dubos told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview that she could still clearly recall her wounded partner fighting for his life as they traversed the mountains on foot for more than an hour to get him to the nearest hospital but he failed to make it and died on the way.
“Sa December 29 pa sana siya uuwi mula Cavite kaso nag-request yung mga anak ko na makasama siya nang mas maaga (He was supposed to go home last December 29, but he came earlier because of my children’s request),” she said.
“Nagpapasalamat ako dahil may mga nakarating nang tulong sa amin. Ngunit mas masaya sana kung kasama pa din namin siya ngayon (I’m grateful for the assistance we received but we would be happier if he is still with us today),” she said.
DSWD grants medical and burial aid to those in need under its Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program. AICS is a social safety net or a stop-gap mechanism to support the recovery of individuals and families from unexpected crisis, such as illness or death of a family member, natural and man-made calamities, and other crisis situations.
Garcia clarified, however, that the programs of DSWD do not automatically cover everyone. The identification of beneficiaries is based on the local government unit disaster report validated by DSWD-5.
“We have sufficient resources to aid the Usman victims. However, we also prioritize those people inside the evacuation centers,” he added.
DSWD’s cost of assistance to “Usman” victims in Bicol has reached PHP24.4 million. The agency provided food and non-food items, such as family food packs, sleeping, hygiene and kitchen kits, blankets and malong to the affected families. (PNA)
Photo from DSWD-Bicol/PNA