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Assistance to Zambo evacuees now at P189.5M

Almost two months after the Zamboanga armed conflict, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has provided a total of P189.5 million worth of relief assistance to the evacuees.

Around P120 million of the said assistance was in the form of cooked meals which DSWD provided to all evacuees at the height of the Zamboanga armed conflict.  The total number of cooked meals provided until October 16 totaled to 2,065,236 food packs.

With the rehabilitation phase underway, DSWD started distributing raw relief goods to the evacuees starting October 17.  The relief packs, distributed every other day, consist of three kilos of rice, three canned sardines, three cans of corned beef, sachets of 3-in-1 coffee and five packs of noodles.

As of October 26, the Department has provided a total of 221,381 family food packs to the affected families which amounted to P55,347,750.

“Pabaon” packs were also provided to each family who returned to their homes.  To date, around 1,000 families were given “pabaon” packs which consist nine kilos of rice, 15 cans of sardines, 10 cans of corned beef, 20 pieces of noodles, and 20 pieces of 3-in-1 coffee.

Aside for the food packs, some P5.1 million of non-food items such as blankets, plastic mats, hygiene kits, kitchen utensils, and mosquito nets, among others were also provided.

As part of the rehabilitation phase, DSWD is now constructing bunkhouses as temporary shelters of the evacuees in partnership with the local government unit of Zamboanga, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Engineering Brigade and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Presently, construction for 62 bunkhouses which will house 702 families is underway, priority of which are the fire victims. The AFP Engineering Brigade is now constructing 21 bunkhouses inside the JFE Sports Complex, while an additional 20 bunkhouses shall be constructed with the IOM.

In partnership with the Habitat for Humanity, 20 more bunkhouses will be constructed at Brgy. Taluksangay intended for 210 families.  Priority families for the said bunkhouses are the Badjao evacuees.

Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said that the government is “fast-tracking the construction of bunkhouses.”

Despite the immediacy, however, she ensured that the bunkhouses are built in accordance to the standards set by the agencies.

Social protection measures are also being strengthened by the Department in collaboration with partner agencies.

Recently, the United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) held a training for the camp managers of the different evacuation centers in handling cases of gender based violence.  The Community and Family Services International (CFSI) shared some strategies in handling cases of children separated from their families in times of disaster.

A referral system in handling cases on gender-based violence was also established in the evacuation centers as an additional measure to protect the women and children evacuees.

To date, 22 evacuation centers remain open, which caters to the welfare and protection of 9,338 families or 41,863 individuals.   In coordination with the city government, DSWD also provides food packs to 10,678 affected families staying with their friends or relatives.###

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DSWD IX Regional Director Zenaida Arevalo stated that the Department  (DSWD) welcomes factual feedback or complaints, especially those substantiated by evidence.

Director Arevalo said this in response to an allegation being posted in facebook of reported padding in prices of the food packs provided to displaced families at the height of the Zamboanga armed conflict situation.

“The allegation on padding of prices of packed meals is false.  We have heard this issue before, but based on our fact-finding, there is no evidence to confirm the claim.  In fact, procurement and accounting documents reveal that the packed goods we provided cost us P25 per breakfast and P40 to P50 per lunch and dinner.  P50 was the maximum amount we paid for lunch and dinner,” Arevalo added.

 “It is improbable that one lunch/dinner meal that is proposed by DSWD at P40 would cost P100 to P150 as per instruction of a staff.  Such price padding in receipts will never be accepted by our accounting unit, as only those indicated in the proposal will be honored.  The billing statements of caterers should, as a requirement, reflect the per unit cost of a packed lunch, in accordance to the bid document.”

Government procurement procedures are standardized by law.  The prices cannot be intermittently changed as only the amount indicated in the approved proposal is considered in budget allocation.    “Those knowledgeable in government procurement know that the allegations of ladderized padding of prices starting from P50 to P100 to a maximum P150 for a P30-meal are impossible.  The fund allocated based on the proposal will simply not cover such baseless and drastic changes in the price, thus, will just result to non-payment of the entire contract.  We welcome any report of such anomaly done by any of our staff, but must be supported by facts.  Any talk of an anomalous transaction by an alleged caterer, without any evidence is just malicious hearsay,” the Director added.

“We appeal to all Zamboanguenos and to the concerned citizens to use their careful judgment when they encounter such issues.  All sectors in society must help towards the rebuilding of Zamboanga.  DSWD also encourage the netizens to advocate towards contributing to the cause of a better Zamboanga, and must be vigilant against any call to action which does not help further this cause,” Director Arevalo stressed.

Moreover, Arevalo requests that all legitimate reports of anomalies and irregularities in the disaster operations by any DSWD staff be reported immediately for the appropriate action.  “Rest assured that we do not tolerate any illegal act, and the Department serves for the benefit of the public.  However, our DSWD employers continue to work hard and their efforts must not go to waste because of hearsays,” she asserted.

DSWD continues to provide relief assistance to the affected families of the Zamboanga armed conflict, which has now amounted to more than P188M  as of October 28.  The Department had also stopped providing cooked meals since last week, and continues to give pabaon relief packs to families who went back to their respective homes. ### (DSWD IX)

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More relief goods arrive in Zamboanga City

Zamboanga City, September 22 – Two Philippine Coast Guard ships arrived in this city yesterday bringing in additional relief goods from the National Resource Operations Center (NROC) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for the families affected by the crisis in the area.

Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman inspected the items at the local wharf and instructed for its transfer to the warehouses for repacking. NROC goods arrival (3)

The BRP EDSA, the first ship to arrive under the command of Lt. Col. Joe Mark Angge, contained relief goods of 17,500 family food packs and 400 boxes of high-energy biscuits.

The second ship Corregidor 892, under Lcdr. Ludovico Librilla, Commanding Officer, carried relief goods comprising 650 family packs, 4,000 family kits that include cooking and eating utensils, 1,000 pieces of blankets, 1,000 pieces of mats, 1,000 pieces of mosquito nets, and 380 tents.

Relief goods from USAID

(Center) DSWD Sec. Dinky thanks USAID through their Area Team Leader Ainee Amboy (right) for the three truckloads of relief goods donated by USAID that were brought to the DPWH warehouse for repacking.

(Center) DSWD Sec. Dinky thanks USAID through their Area Team Leader Ainee Amboy (right) for the three truckloads of relief goods donated by USAID that were brought to the DPWH warehouse for repacking.

Meanwhile, Secretary Soliman also met with the officials of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) at the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) compound yesterday morning, to officially receive relief goods for the evacuees.

Ms. Ainee Amboy, USAID Area Team Leader for Mindanao, turned over to the DSWD three truckloads of non-food items (NFI) containing hygiene kits, sleeping gears, and kitchen items.  The donations, as accounted by the DSWD, comprised of 10,000 pieces of bath soap, 10,000 pieces of towels, 10,000 pieces of laundry soaps, 5,000 tubes of toothpaste, 25,000 pieces of toothbrush, 5,000 bottles of alcohol, 9,710 pieces of blankets, 5,000 pieces of sleeping mats, and kitchen items like ladles, cooking pots, and water basins at 5,000 pieces each.

Secretary Soliman ordered for the immediate repacking of these goods for its timely release to the evacuees by Sept. 23.

“I commend the USAID, other donor agencies, civil ociety Organizations, faith-based groups, and kind-hearted individuals for their continued support extended to our brothers and sisters in Zamboanga who are ruthlessly affected by the crisis instigated by MNLF-Misuari faction,” Secretary Soliman said.  ###

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The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) represented by Director Zenaida Arevalo of Regional Office IX recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the 52ndEngineering Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines represented by Col. Reynaldo Mutiangpili for the construction of the 96 bunkhouses for victims of the armed conflict in Zamboanga who are staying at the Joaquin F. Enriquez Sports Complex. The MoA signing was held at the DSWD Regional Office.

The MOA stipulates the arrangements of both parties in the realization of the P10.8M worth of temporary shelters for the armed conflict victims.

As agreed, both parties shall jointly formulate plans and specifications as well as programs of work for the construction of bunkhouses, latrines, and kitchen.

According to Director Arevalo, the labor or workforce will be hired from the project’s beneficiaries. “We are going to tap the beneficiaries themselves particularly the family heads for the additional help that the engineering brigade needs for the project. This is to maximize their participation/involvement and to imbibe in them the sense of ownership over these shelters,” she said.

As arranged, the funds that will be transferred to the AFP Engineering Brigade will be in a form of check and shall be released within this week.SAM_0848

Inline image 2 The DSWD and the Engineering Brigade have started to build the bunkhouses at the JFE Sports Complex. Col. Mutiangpili said that his group can complete the project in 60 days. Due to the urgency, Col. Mutianglili stressed that they intend to fast track the work in the interest of providing comfort to the families as soon as possible and before the yuletide season begins this December.

The Engineering brigade is slated to build 21 bunkhouses at JFE Sports Complex. Each bunkhouse has 12 rooms with each room to accommodate one (1) family of 6-10 members. Estimated cost for each bunkhouse is Php 516,284 with a total amount of P10,841,964 for the 21 bunkhouses.

To ensure transparency and accountability, Director Arevalo said both parties shall comply with the provision on standard reporting such as the submission of bi-monthly accomplishment status and physical and audited financial reports, which shall be made readily available to the inquiring public. ### October 22, 2013 (DSWD-Social Marketing Service)

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Camp management training for social workers in Zambo is ongoing

Around 100 social workers both from public and private sectors gathered today until tomorrow at the Marcian Hotel to participate in the training on camp coordination and camp management organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), according to Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office IX Director Zenaida Arevalo.

The IOM is a long-time partner of the DSWD on disaster response especially along management of evacuation centers and provision of temporary shelter.

According to Mark Maulit, representative of Migration Crisis Operations Unit of IOM, this training aims to deepen the participants’ understanding of the concepts, principles of good camp coordination and management drawing from their direct experiences in managing evacuation sites.

Majority of the participants are currently managing the evacuation centers providing temporary shelter to the families affected by the armed conflict between government troops and the Moro National Liberation Front-Nur Misuari faction.

Maulit said that his group has gone around the evacuation centers in the city and has observed how these temporary shelters are being managed.  He said that the unfamiliarity of camp managers’ on their roles and responsibilities may lead to camp mismanagement.

“ Camp managers play a critical role because the evacuees largely depend on them for their daily survival at the evacuation centers. Thus, if they do not manage the evacuation centers well, the sufferings of the evacuees may increase, and may delay their recovery,” Maulit said.

During the training,  good practices from different countries that experienced huge disasters will be shared for possible replication if appropriate.  Likewise, social workers who are presently managing the evacuation centers in Zamboanga City will also share their experiences.

After the training, the participants are expected to develop plans that would improve the services at the evacuation centers under their care.

Based on the October 18, 10:00 AM report of the DSWD, 8,318 families or 39,451 persons are still staying in evacuation centers. ### 18 October 2013 (DSWD-Social Marketing Service)

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DSWD gives ‘pabaon’ packs to Zambo evacuees returning home

After the military has declared some areas to be safe, a number of evacuees from the armed conflict between government troops and Moro National Liberation Front-Misuari faction in Zamboanga City are now returning home.

To ensure that those returning home will meet their daily food needs while starting anew, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will provide them with ‘pabaon’ packs.

To date, the DSWD has released “pabaon” packs to 930 families who have returned to their respective communities in Mampang, Talon-Talon, and Arena Blanco. The family-evacuees who returned home came from the following evacuation centers in Mampang – 602,  Lunzuran-200, JFE Sports Complex – 77, Boalan – 46 and Guiwan – 5.

Each  ‘pabaon’ pack contains 9 kilos of rice, 15 cans of sardines, 10 cans of corned beef, 20 pieces of noodles and 20 pieces of 3-in-1 coffee.  Each pack is valued at P 933.00 and is estimated to be good for one week.

The access cards of the returning evacuees are surrendered to the DSWD as soon as they receive their ‘pabaon’.

To date, 8,341 families or 40,511 persons are still housed in 27 evacuation centers around the city.   Family packs are given to families in evacuation centers every two days. ### October 17, 2013 (DSWD-Social Marketing Service)

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DSWD clarifies “dagdag-bawas” issue on family food packs

The Department of Social Welfare and Development in Region IX clarifies today that there is no anomaly in the repacking of relief goods for the victims of armed conflict in Zamboanga City.

 The Department made this clarification after seeing the issue “Dagdag Bawas sa DSWD”  on Facebook.  The facebook post was accompanied by photos showing the label of a relief pack as containing10 kilos rice, 12 pieces noodles, 8 sardines, 12 pouches coffee, and 4 tins meatloaf. The post added that there is “dagdag-bawas” during the repacking of goods because the actual goods being distributed do not contain those items indicated on the label.

 DSWD Region IX Director Zenaida Arevalo said that  there was no “dagdag- bawas”  in the relief packs. The relief packs came from DSWD Region XI as augmentation assistance to Zamboanga evacuees.

“We would like to clarify that in an effort to save on cost, the goods for the Zamboanga evacuees were repacked by Region XI using the extra plastic bags for relief items for victims of typhoon Pablo. In good faith, DSWD Region XI did not erase the label on the plastic bags,” Director Arevalo said.

 Director Arevalo further explained that the  DSWD abides by the  standard content of a family food pack for each family-evacuee. A family food pack contains the following items: 3 kilos rice, 6 tins sardines/corned beef and noodles.  The items may vary according to the availability of goods but DSWD ensures that one family pack costs P250.00.

 “With this unforeseen development,  the management is looking into the possibility of replacing the plastic bags to prevent further misconceptions,” Director Arevalo pointed out.

 “We thank the public for bringing this matter to our attention,” Director Arevalo added.###

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DSWD transitions from relief to rehabilitation stage

More than two weeks into the Zamboanga siege, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is embarking on a better system in the provision of relief assitance to displaced families in preparation for the rehabilitation stage.

 In an interview, Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said “DSWD is now incorporating changes in the disaster operations especially in the provision of food for the evacuees staying inside the evacuation centers.  The Department is now gradually shifting from providing cooked food to providing food supplies to the evacuees and letting them cook their own meals as to how they most prefer it.”

 Community kitchens are being set up in strategic areas of the evacuation centers in pursuant to this transition.  In the JF Enriquez, the biggest evacuation center, community kitchens are established away from the tents to prevent fire and ensure the safety of the evacuees.  The JF Enriquez is currently home to 11,979 families or 71,265 individuals.

 The Secretary said that the DSWD will still continue to deliver hot meals for the displaced families until such time when majority of the community kitchens are established.  Due to this gradual change in the food provision, the Department will also be decreasing orders of cooked food from the local food providers.

Aside from the changes in the relief operations, the Department is also shifting towards the rehabilitation stage of the disaster operations.  DSWD is coordinating closely with the Zamboanga City Local Government and other government agencies and non-government organizations (NGOs) for the rebuilding of Zamboanga City.  This is also in support to Mayor Isabelle Climaco’s call for “one Zamboanga towards a better Zamboanga.”

 DSWD has prepared a rehabilitation plan amounting to P3.89B which will cover the cost for continuing relief assistance for affected families for one month, Balik Probinsiya Program, Educational Assistance, Supplementary Feeding program, Cash-for-Work/Training, Construction of Bunkhouses, Shelter Assistance, and Livelihood Assistance.

 Secretary Soliman said “since the President has released a budget of P3.9B for rehabilitation and early recovery, we want to implement ways on how best to respond to the needs of the affected families, especially in the provision of permanent shelters to those who lost their homes.”  Presently, DSWD is closely coordinating with the Habitat for Humanity, Gawad Kalinga and the AFP Engineering Brigade for the construction of temporary shelters.

A groundbreaking ceremony will be held on October 5 in Barangay Taluksangay for the construction of bunkhouses, as well as in Barangay Talon-Talon for the construction of a two-storey school building. The school building with 20 classrooms is sponsored by Black-Eyed Peas Allan Pineda commonly know as

 As an on-going effort to prepare the evacuees for the rehabilitation stage, DSWD is conducting Family Development Sessions inside the evacuation centers, wherein around 5,000 Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries are also staying.  In the FDS, small groups of displaced individuals come together and share their experience and plans for the future.

 The Secretary added that the “The needs and aspirations of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have to be considered for the Department to come up with a better and appropriate rehabilitation plan.”

 Skills training is also being provided in partnership with TESDA.  Presently, bead-crafts making and reflexology/massage training is held at the Livelihood Tent.  All the bead-products made by the trainees, which are key chains and wallets, will be bought by the Department.

Psycho-social interventions, day care service and supplemental feeding are also continuously being done in all evacuation centers.  Further, the Secretary emphasized that relief operations will still continue, as the rehabilitation plan is implemented.

 As of September 29, the Department has provided a total of P99.499 million worth of relief augmentation assistance to the affected families.

Moreover, Mayor Isabelle Climaco, in a recent interview, expressed her gratitude to the President for his leadership and support towards the rebuilding of a better Zamboanga City.  She also thanked Secretary Soliman for the Department’s rehabilitation plan for the displaced families of the armed conflict.

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