Monday, August 13, 2012

Caritas Manila initiates ‘green’ relief

MANILA, August 13, 2012— A Catholic Church-based relief agency is helping those devastated by floods in a “green” way to save the environment.
Caritas Manila, the social action arm of the Manila archdiocese, has avoided using plastic bags for relief goods.
Instead, the agency is using relief bags made of maong and recycled “katcha” cloth from flour sacks, said Fr. Anton Pascual, Caritas Manila executive director.
“We are trying to avoid plastics so we made around 10,000 relief bags since January made of recycled katcha,” Pascual said.
Contained in the relief pack are supplies for a family with at least five members and good for up to four days. These include canned goods, rice, potable water, medicines and first aid kit.
“We are trying to modify it now so that we can help more people because there are thousands of victims,” he said.
So far, he added, around 23,000 families from Metro Manila and nearby provinces were given immediate assistance.
“As of yesterday, Caritas Damayan has distributed around 20,000 relief bags and hygiene kits in Metro Manila composed of six dioceses,” said Pascual said.
He also called on “good Samaritans” to help those who are still in various evacuation centers in the Diocese of Pasig.
Pascual said those who want to help could contact Radyo Veritas at 925-79-32 to 39 or Caritas Manila at 564-0205, 563-9311, and 562-0020 up to 25.
He also said that cash donations may be deposited at Caritas Manila’s BPI Savings Account No. 3063-5357-01; BDO SA 5600-45905; Metrobank SA 175-3-17506954-3 or USD Bank Accounts: BPI no. 3064-0033-55(swift code PNB MPH MM).
To date, Caritas Manila has received at least P3 million cash donations and P.5 million worth of in-kind donations. [CBCPNews]

Angeles tourism office enjoins students to join the Kapampangan balagtasan

ANGELES CITY, Pampanga, August 13, 2012-Angeles Tourism Office (ACTO)- in partnership with Center for Kapampangan Studies (CKS) of Holy Angel University, Parnasong Kapampangan and the Kuliat Foundation is enjoining secondary students in the city to participate in this year's  Crissotan or the Kapampangan balagtasan which is slated on August 24.

ACTO head Christine Nunag explained that this project "aims to support the sustained interest and appreciation of Kapampangan language."

Crissotan consists of eight rounds, each round with two stanzas, each stanza composed of eight rhymed lines, and each line with 12 or 16 syllables.

It started in 1962 and was named after poet Crisostomo Soto.

A variation of the crissotan is the three-way Tolentinuan, named after another Kapampangan poet, Aurelio Tolentino. 

Amado Yuzon, who coined the term crissotan, was the Ari nung Crissotan (King of crissotan) from 1930 until his death in 1979. Jose Gallardo of Candaba town was the last major proponent of crissotan.

Cash prizes and certificates will be given to the winning students after the program.

Representatives of HAU’s CKS, ACTO, participating schools, and local poets and polosadors or someone who sings in honor of a birthday celebrator, a guest of honor, a guest speaker or a newly crowned beauty queen will be present in the said event.

Interested schools may contact ACTO at (045) 625-2286 or HAU’s CKS at (045) 888-8691 loc. 1312.(Joelyn G. Baluyut)

Aetas in Tarlac received new homes

TARLAC CITY, Tarlac, August 13, 2012-Aeta villagers in Sitio Monicayo in Bamban, Tarlac province found a new home as Clark Development Corporation (CDC) and the Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation, Inc. (GK) recently distributed 22 new houses in their area.
CDC Chair and officer-in-charge Eduardo Oban Jr. Said “I hope that these new houses would usher in a brand new beginning to all of our Aeta brothers as they enter their new homes today.”
In a recent development, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed earlier between CDC and GK for the improvement of the communities residing at the Clark Highlands which has about 10,323 hectares to be managed and developed by CDC in accordance with the Master Development Plan for the economic zone.
This then is subject to the agreed sharing scheme and other duties and responsibilities under the Joint-Management agreement of CDC with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).
“The construction of houses is also part of the Corporate Social Responsibility projects of the CDC to address the needs of communities surrounding the Metro Clark area,”Oban added.
Earlier this year, CDC also disclosed that apart from the houses, the state-run and GK will also construct health centers and classrooms as well as hold livelihood trainings and child and youth development sessions. (Joelyn G. Baluyut)

CDC to distribute over 5,000 packs of relief goods to flood-battered Kapampangans

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, August 13, 2012-Clark Development Corporation (CDC) is set to distribute an initial 5,000 packs of goods consisting of basic food needs to Kapampangan families severely battered by the two-week intense rains caused by "Gener" and southwest monsoon.

In a statement, the state-run firm disclosed that the recipients will be from the cities of Mabalacat and Angeles and town of Sto. Tomas.

Each pack consists of rice, instant noodles, and coffee.

CDC will also provide relief goods to the towns of Guagua and Masantol and City of San Fernando also in Pampanga ang Aeta victims in the municipalities of Paniqui and Bamban in Tarlac in the coming days.

Latest figures from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) reveal that 426 barangays were flooded  displacing 207,190 families or  882,296 individuals. (Joelyn G. Baluyut)

DOLE releases rules on payment of wages during calamities

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, August 13, 2012-Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Regional Office III  on Monday released its ruling on the payment of wages in private firms  in times of calamities in accordance to last week's work stoppages.

DOLE Central Luzon Chief Raymundo Agravante said  if the day is unworked, the “no work, no pay” principle shall apply, except in cases where there is favorable company policy, practice, or collective bargaining agreement (CBA) granting payment of wages, and the employee has accrued leave credits where his leave of absence shall be charged.

If worked, the employee shall be paid an additional 30 percent of the daily rate on 100 percent on the first eight hours of work. In excess of eight hours, he shall be paid an additional 30 percent of the hourly rate on said day. 

"And for those implementing compressed work week arrangements, the employee shall be paid additional 30 percent for the agreed work hours on said day" Agravante added.

Five Central Luzon provinces namely Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales were severely battered by intense rains and floods brought by the southwest monsoon leading Malacanang and several local government units to call off work. (Joelyn G. Baluyut)

Legarda Stresses Need for Nationwide Compliance with Solid Waste Management Act

MANILA, August 13, 2012-In light of the devastation wrought by floods due to extreme weather disturbances during the past two weeks, Senator Loren Legarda today stressed the need for full compliance with the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

“There is an overwhelming need for a comprehensive recovery and rehabilitation plan that will reduce the susceptibility of all sectors to the floods that threaten people’s health, homes, and livelihoods. Solid waste management is central to such a plan,” she said.

In her privilege speech on the State of Disaster and Climate Risks in the Philippines, Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, noted that the recent monsoon rains submerged 80% of Metro Manila in floodwater, leaving 92 dead and more than half a million Filipinos displaced. At present, over 89,000 families remain in evacuation centers as a result of these recent disasters, adding to the 3,995 families, or so-called “climate refugees” still residing in temporary shelters seven months after typhoon Sendong.

“Why do our flooding woes seem to worsen every day? A main reason is the non-compliance with our environmental laws. Sixty-two per cent or 945 of 1,516 LGUs nationwide still use open and controlled dumps which R.A. 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, prohibits,” she explained.

“It is time to honestly ask ourselves if we are working on preventing and mitigating the floods or merely responding to their onslaught,” she remarked, noting that while disaster response preparedness is important, it is never enough for saving lives and reducing socio-economic losses substantially.

The Senator, in suggesting best practices that LGUs can implement, cited the small town of San Francisco in Camotes Island, Cebu and the third class municipality of Hinatuan in Surigao del Sur.

“The town of San Francisco received the 2011 United Nations Sasakawa award for Disaster Risk Reduction by strictly enforcing their “no trash segregation-no collection” policy. The Municipality of Hinatuan won the 2010 Zero Basura Olympics because their townspeople worked together in cleaning clogged canals, their surroundings and seawater, as well as in regulating plastic use,” she explained.

“The forces that threaten our people and the development of our country must be met with resolute will and sustainable solutions. Strong political will at the local and national levels can help bring about the big change we want to see,” Legarda concluded.

Senate body approves 2013 budget of 3 agencies, but defers approval of PDEA

MANILA, August 13, 2012-The Senate Finance Committee today approved without cut the proposed budgets of three agencies including the country’s lead intelligence collection agency, but held in abeyance the budget of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) due to the apparent inaccurate data being presented by the agency.

“I am recommending for Senate floor deliberations the proposed budgets of National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), National Security Council (NSC) and Philippine Dangerous Drug Board (PDDB),” said the committee’s chairman Senator Franklin M. Drilon.

“But I defer the approval of PDEA’s budget for it appears to me that the PDEA is not on top of the situation. The matters we discussed in the budget hearing last year remain in the same situation as when we reviewed the budget one year afterward,” said Drilon.

It can be recalled that during last year’s budget hearing, Drilon expressed alarm over the apparent inaccurate data regarding seized illegal drugs and warned that these unaccounted illegal substances could lead to “recycling” and be readily available to the public.

During today’s hearing, Drilon asked the PDEA Director General Jose Gutierrez, Jr. regarding the disposal of illegal substance being seized by the agency in accordance with the provision of Republic Act No. 9165, but received a vague answer from Gutierrez.

Thus, he said the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 was not being fully implemented, as the PDEA is still holding on to a sizeable number of illegal drugs.

Section 21, paragraph 4 of the said act states that After the filing of the criminal case, the Court shall, within seventy-two (72) hours, conduct an ocular inspection of the confiscated, seized and/or surrendered dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs, and controlled precursors and essential chemicals, including the instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment, and through the PDEA shall within twenty-four (24) hours thereafter proceed with the destruction or burning of the same, in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the DOJ, civil society groups and any elected public official.”

“The law says that a representative sample of seized illegal substance, will be secured, and the rest should be destroyed within 24 hours in the presence of the accused or counsel, the prosecutor, and the media,” he added.

“I want explanation why nothing has been done since last year in order to destroy the almost 1,000 kilograms of illegal substance – as revealed during the hearing – which could find its way in the street again. I am totally disappointed,” stressed Drilon.

PDEA is asking for P800.04 million budget for 2013, including automatic appropriation.

Meanwhile, NICA’s approved budget for 2013 stood at P491.32 million, including automatic appropriation; whereas, NSC is proposed to receive P113.43 million, also including automatic appropriation.

Lastly, DDB will get P178.4 million, also gross of automatic appropriation. 


MANILA, August 13, 2012-On its second hearing on the Senate investigation on rice smuggling, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan, expressed his belief that officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority are making excuses in trying to explain why a shipment of rice worth half a billion pesos was allowed entry and were unloaded off their docks.

"It boggles the mind that those entrusted with closely guarding our ports are not aware of which goods are prohibited from entering the country. When that much rice enters any of our ports, it should automatically raise signals for our officials to be cautious in having them enter the country. This case is extremely disturbing. There were no permits nor pertinent documents presented, yet these goods  were allowed not only entry in our docks, but were also allowed to be unloaded without the necessary permits."

"Is it too difficult for SBMA officials to know rice import procedures from the NFA? Is it not standard procedure for SBMA to coordinate with concerned government agencies whenever questionable goods enter our country? Four hundred twenty thousand sacks of rice are not exactly mere blimps in their radar."

During the hearing, it was bared that the controversial shipment of rice seized by the Bureau of Customs had no documents supporting claims that it first entered the ports of Jakarta before being diverted to the Philippines.

"Galing na mismo sa chairman ng SBMA na si administrator Roberto Garcia na ang destinasyon ng mga bigas na ito ay ang Pilipinas at wala nang iba pang bansa. Malinaw na may balak ibenta ito sa ating merkado. Kawawa naman ang mahihirap nating mga magsasaka. Kayod sila nang kayod at pagkatapos ay papatayin lang ng smuggling ang kanilang hanapbuhay. Binabagyo na nga tayo at nasisira ang ating mga pananim at sakahan, may smuggling pa. Doble pasakit ito sa ating mga kababayan."

The lawmaker stressed, "Layon natin na tanggalan ng maskara ang mga smugglers na ito upang sila ay maparusahan. Kailangan nating ipakita sa taumbayan na tayo ay seryoso sa pagpuksa ng ganitong tiwali at mapansamantalang gawain. Ang smuggling ay isang krimen. At lahat ng kriminal ay dapat maparusahan, lalung-lalo na dahil ang kapalit nito ay kagutuman para sa marami nating mga mamamayan."

Senate Concurrence in Ratification of Maritime Labour Convention, a Global Milestone – Legarda

MANILA, August 13, 2012-“As the 30th ILO member state to ratify the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), 2006, today is nothing less than a global milestone,” Senator Loren Legarda said after the Philippine Senate approved on third reading Senate Resolution 829.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and sponsor of Senate Resolution 829 or the Resolution Concurring in the Ratification of Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, hailed the Senate’s decision.

“The MLC, 2006, envisioned to spur the modernization of shipping fleets to comply with international standards, will enter into force one year after it has been ratified by 30 countries with a minimum of 33% of world tonnage. Before the Philippines ratified MLC, 2006, it was ratified by 29 countries with 58.5% of the world tonnage,” she explained.

“Our ratification finally and justly establishes the bill of rights of 1.2 million seafarers worldwide, 400,000 of whom are our very own. We should take great pride in this achievement,” she added.

Legarda noted that 30% of all the personnel manning the ships are Filipino seafarers. In 2011 alone, the Philippines deployed 343,587 seafarers, making 1 out of every 5 seafarers in the world a Filipino.

The Senator said she is hopeful that the unfair conditions of seafarers including exploitation, excessive working hours, ill-treatment, contract substitution and underpayment of wages and other benefits will be abolished through this Convention.

“There is an urgent need for governments to effectively enforce its regulatory role in ensuring safer and secure shipping, in preventing marine pollution, and in ensuring decent work for seafarers. We must give them the just treatment that they deserve, underscoring their sacrifices and contributions to the global economy.  I believe that the MLC, 2006 will make a significant difference in the lives of all seafarers around the world,” Legarda concluded.

PNoy visits evacuation centers in CL Assures help to flood victims

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, August 13, 2012-President Benigno S. Aquino III reassured Central Luzon residents affected by massive flooding that the government is working on its best to help and assist them in their needs, even as he ordered for the immediate repairs and rehabilitation of damaged flood control infrastructures in the region. 

This after the President visited various evacuation centers in the provinces of Tarlac, Bataan, Pampanga and Bulacan on Friday (August 10) to distribute relief goods to affected families and personally assess the extent of damages brought by the onslaught of massive flooding, where depth of floodwater reached to as high as eight feet. 

President Aquino first visited two towns in Tarlac - Paniqui and Capas – which were considered the hardest hit by flooding in the province. 

He went at the Apulid Elementary School in Paniqu, where he arrived at 10:05am, before proceeding to Sta. Lucia Elementary School in Capas for relief distribution to evacuees in said schools. 

The local government services 205 families in Apulid Elementary School and 105 families in Sta. Lucia Elementary School. 

In a short message, President Aquino said he recognized that people really hoped for the government to assist them in these difficult times, allaying the apprehensions of victims by saying the government is well-capacitated to help them and that they need not worry as the national government and the local governments, including partner non-government organizations, work closely together to deliver the much needed interventions for flood victims. 

From Tarlac, the President land-travelled to Dinalupihan town in Bataan where he distributed relief packs to evacuees at the Dinapulihan Civic Center. 

Evacuees expressed elation over the President’s visit at the evacuation center despite his busy schedule and grabbed the opportunity to convey the need for the immediate restoration of damaged dikes in the town that led to up to seven feet deep flood. 

The President said the situation in the town will be carefully studied to provide permanent solution to perennial flooding experienced in Dinalupihan and other parts of Bataan, even as he asked for enough time for concrete results as this would entail quite some time to be implemented fully. 

In Pampanga, President Aquino visited 110 evacuees at the Sto. Nino Elementary School in the City of San Fernando and handed them relief packs. He arrived at the area at 3:17pm. 

He assured Kapampangan of efforts to restore damaged dikes which caused massive flooding in almost the entire province, particularly the breached sections of the 9.6-km San Fernando-Sto. Tomas-Minalin tail dike which ruptured during the height of monsoon rains on August 7. 

He also said he is in constant close coordination with local leaders and national government agencies in the province to make sure interventions to the needs in the localities are swiftly delivered. 

In Bulacan, the President ordered for the intensification of the National Greening Program in the province to avert soil erosion from the mountains which causes river siltation. The directive was received positively by environmental groups in the province. 

Dr. Reynaldo Naguit, president of the Buklurang Biak na Bato, Inc., said there are “rainforestation” projects in the mountains of Biak na Bato. “With this directive of the President, it is clear that he is sincere in caring and preserving our environment.” 

Aquino also announced the immediate implementation of the Valenzuela-Obando-Meycauayan (VOM) flood control project this year so it can be finished by 2016. The project is worth P2.2 billion. 

Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Alvarado considered the implementation of the project as a welcome development as it will aid in the prevention of floodings in the province. 

Aquino went to the Malolos City Integrated School and Paombong municipal hall where he handed over food packs to families who took temporary shelter in said evacuation centers. 

Moreover, President Aquino said he reads and analyzes reports being submitted to him by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and said all agencies concerned do their job round the clock to put interventions and resolve the situation. 

He ensured that the government is well-capacitated to help and assist people in times of disasters and that sufficient funds are available for the implementation of infrastructure projects imperative to completely resolve the problem of massive flooding. 

Monsoon rains the past week rendered 594 barangays in Central Luzon submerged under floodwaters, affecting close to two million population, leaving 37 casualties, and losing the region more than P1.6-billion in infrastructure and agriculture. (William L. Beltran)


MANILA, August 13, 2012-Senator Edgardo J. Angara underscored the importance of the bill institutionalizing the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) in facilitating disaster response, especially following the recent devastation caused by the southwest monsoon.

Angara, author of the measure, said ICT through social media played a big role in information dissemination, rescue operations, and relief efforts during the last week.

"Bayanihan was very evident online during the calamity this week," Angara said. "Despite the massive flooding and power outages, people were able to get updates on the latest weather and traffic advisories, and receive information regarding evacuation and donation centers via mobile Facebook and Twitter. 

"As a result, many stranded victims were rescued as soon as possible, and updates were disseminated to the public in fast and timely way, complementing information from traditional media like radio and television," added Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology and the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE).

Angara however noted that the country has yet to maximize the full potential of having ICT-enabled initiatives. 

"The DICT will help us become more strategic in our use of ICT. It will help government draw up policies and programs that will make it more efficient, effective, and transparent. If passed, DICT can and will improve social services, including disaster management," he explained.

Angara is the main proponent of the Data Privacy Act and the Cybercrime Prevention Act, which are both ready for signing by the President, and the measure creating the DICT, which has yet to be approved by a bicameral conference committee. (Rikka Sotto)

PNoy visits flood-stricken Kapampangans

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, August 13, 2012-President Benigno Aquino III on Friday visited flood-stricken Kapampangans in the City of San Fernando distributing packs of goods that would address their short-term needs. 

In a brief message at an evacuation center in Sto. Nino Elementary School where around 100 families temporarily seek shelter, Aquino assured residents that his administration is closely coordinating with the local leaders for the swift recovery of the province from the debacle. 

"Maraming kababayan natin ang tumutulong kaya huwag tayong masyadong mag-alala na mapapabayaan kayo dito. Handa tayong tumulong hanggang kailangan kayong tulungan" (A number of our countrymen have volunteered to help so don't worry that you will be left behind. We will help you as long as you need our help) Aquino said. 

The President lamented that there are people who spread wrong information, and vowed to go after them as they "generate confusion and fear during times of disaster." 

Latest figures from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council revealed that 366 barangays were flooded in Pampanga during the two-week intense rains bought by typhoon Gener and southwest monsoon displacing 139,359 families or 596,403 individuals. 

The council also tallied 15 casualties and one missing. 

Moreover, the cost of damages in agriculture is at P847 million broken down as follows: Rice crops at P234 milion; corn- P76,000; livestocks-P228,000; high value commercial crops- P12 million; and fisheries- P601 million. 

Apart from Pampanga, Aquino also toured three other severely battered provinces in Central Luzon namely Bataan, Bulacan and Tarlac. ( Joelyn G. Baluyut)

Lahat ng mga pamilyang binaha sa Bulacan, padadalhan ng rasyon ng pagkain

LUNGSOD NG MALOLOS, Bulacan, Agosto 13, 2012-Tiniyak ng Pamahalaang Panlalawigan ng Bulacan na makakatanggap ng ayudang pagkain ang bawat pamilyang binaha dahil sa hanging Habagat, sila man ay inilikas sa mga evacuation centers o naiwan sa kani-kanilang mga tirahan. 

Ayon kay Bise Gobernador Daniel Fernando, “Ito ang direktiba ng ating Gobernador Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado para matiyak na walang pamilyang Bulakenyong magugutom ngayong panahon ng kalamidad. Kaya kami sa Sangguniang Panlalawiagn, nagkaisa kami na pagtibayin ang deklarasyon ng State of Calamity upang ma-maximize ang paggamit ng Calamity Fund para marami ang matulungan agad.” 

Sa pinakahuling tala ng Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC), halos 100 libong pamilya na katumbas ng nasa 500,000 na indibidwal ang direktang naapektuhan ng malawakang pagbabaha sa 21 bayan at tatlong lungsod sa Bulacan. 

Kaugnay nito, may nauna nang ipinagkaloob si Pangulong Benigno S. Aquino III na mahigit 2000 na family food packs sa pamamagitan ng Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) na ipinamahagi sa Paombong at lungsod ng Malolos. 

Ayon kay Rizalina Carpio, Project Development Officer ng DSWD sa rehiyon ng gitnang Luzon, bawat isang family food packs na ipinamamahagi sa mga binaha ay nagkakahalaga ng P250.00. May laman itong tatlong kilong bigas, pitong pakete ng noodles, limang lata ng corn beef, anim na lata ng sardinas at anim na pakete ng 3 in 1 na kape. 

Bahagi ito ng P6 bilyong calamity fund ng bansa na inaprubahan kamakailan ng pangulo upang agad na matulungan ang mga biktima ng malawakang pagbabaha. 

Iba pa rito ang mahigit 4000 na relief goods na ipinamahagi na ng pamahalaang panlalawigan. Tiniyak naman ni DSWD Secretary Corazon ‘Dinky’ Soliman na patuloy pang magpapadala ng mga ayudang pagkain ang pamahalaang nasyonal upang maseguro na lahat ng mga binahang Bulakenyo ay makatikim ng pagtulong at tunay na pag-alalay ng pamahalaan. (Shane F. Velasco)

LGUs now more prepared for disasters - DILG

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, August 13, 2012-Local officials are now more prepared to deal with disasters because of a clearer understanding of where the five percent disaster fund should go and how this fund should be properly utilized. 

Thus said Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Regional Director Florida Dijan amidst the calamity that struck Central Luzon last week. 

Most parts of Central Luzon endured massive flooding, with depth reaching to as high as eight feet in some areas, caused by almost non-stop torrential rains brought by typhoon Gener and aggravated by the southwest monsoon or “hanging habagat.” 

She said Republic Act 10121 or the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Act of 2010 states clearly how DRRM Fund should be used. “Hindi katulad noong tinatawag pa natin itong calamity fund, hindi malinaw kung saan pwedeng gamitin ang pondo sa disaster (Before when this was called calamity fund it wasn't clear where the funds may be used),” she said. 

From the five (5) percent DRRM fund, 70 percent can be used for preparedness while 30 percent can be utilized when calamity strikes. Dijan added that preparedness involves LGUs’ purchase of equipment for rescue operation such as rubber boats. 

Part of preparedness is the capacity building of barangay officials and rescue teams being led by the DILG in partnership with the Office of Civil Defense and Department of Environment and Natural Resources, where one of the training outputs is their respective local DRRM Plan. Dijan disclosed that, to date, 35 percent of barangays in Central Luzon has DRRM Plans. 

Dijan also mentioned that part of empowering LGUs in disaster response is sharing of available resources, particularly rescue equipment. 

“Equipment may be shared to LGUs needing assistance, especially in times of rescue and relief operations,” the DILG chief said. 

At the height of flooding last week, rescue teams from Isabela, Tarlac and Palayan City augmented in rescue and evacuation operations particularly in Bataan, Bulacan and Pampanga, sharing their rescue vehicles and seacrafts. 

Dijan also underscored the significance of public-private partnership manifested during the trying time, expressing gratitude to private organizations, LGUs within and outside the region, and even private individuals who sent rescue teams, assisted in relief operations, and offered their places to accommodate people who need to be evacuated from flooded areas. 

Dijan reassured that all efforts to help those affected by flood in the region are being done, especially in immediate relief operations. 

To date, an aggregate of over P20 million cost of assistance has already been provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Provincial Governments, municipal/city governments, Department of Health, and non-government organizations to affected families. 

In Central Luzon, state of calamity has been declared in the entire provinces of Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga and Zambales. 

Damages in infrastructure was pegged at a little over P53 million, while in agriculture, the region suffered loss of more than P1.6 billion. 

In a related development, President Aquino has ordered the immediate repairs of damaged dikes and other flood control infrastructures in the region. (William L. Beltran)


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