MANILA — The government has disbursed P4.1 million in aid to families hit by severe tropical storm Paeng, Malacañang said Saturday morning as the cyclone continued to batter parts of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
The government’s available relief fund is about P1.5 billion with P445.2 million on standby funds and quick response funds, the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) said in a statement.
It said that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) also has more than P1 billion worth of stockpiles ready to be distributed.
So far, “there are 97,206 families affected by the tropical storm in multiple regions, with 12,304 families already sheltering in evacuation centers,” the OPS said, citing data from the DSWD.
“President Ferdinand R. Marcos has been in constant communication with different government agencies on the status of severe tropical storm Paeng to make sure that there is sufficient resource augmentation to support local government units in all affected areas,” said Undersecretary Cheloy Garafil, officer in charge of the OPS.
“The President has instructed national government agencies to assist the BARMM in its relief and rescue operations on the recent flooding in Maguindanao that claimed at least 67 people,” she said in a separate statement.
“The President wants to assure them of the full support of the government,” she said.
Malacañang has advised the public to “stay alert and take all precautionary measures to stay safe.”
Severe Tropical Storm Paeng crossed the tip of Catanduanes and made landfall in Camarines Sur and is forecast to continue moving west-northwestward through Sunday across Luzon.
Among regions devastated by Paeng are Calabarzon, Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Soccsksargen, Caraga Region, and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
As of 2 a.m. of October 29, the Philippines has listed 72 dead and 33 injured due to the storm.
Social Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo said a total of 10,000 food boxes will be delivered to Maguindanao Saturday after its governor requested aid.
"Kagabi nagtanong din siya (Marcos) sa Maguindanao sabi ko inaantay lang namin 'yung request ng BARMM hindi po nag-request ang BARMM, 'yung governor naman po ng Maguindanao ang nag-request [ng ayuda] so papunta na po sa kaniya 'yung 10,000 food boxes ngayong umaga," Tulfo told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
Tulfo said that around 60,000 food boxes have been delivered to Abra for quake-hit families.
In a meeting with Department of Social Welfare and Development officials across regions, Tulfo said all personnel of the department should be available to work despite the long weekend holiday.
“Everybody, cancel muna ‘yung day off at saka ‘yung mga leave kung hindi naman emergency iyan to help out,” he said.
“I want you to be aware and alert. This is our time, this is our moment. Ayokong magpakaangkang, ayokong malusutan, ayoko ko kayong mabutasan diyan, mapuna kayo diyan because we have a very, very long period of preparation.”
Tulfo said DSWD personnel should assist those who are affected by the storm, including farmers and fishermen who will not be able to harvest during the heavy rain.
Stranded passengers should also be fed, he added.
“Baybayin ninyo iyong mga seaside ninyo diyan kasi ‘yung mga fisherman hindi makalabas ngayon and for the next two to three days so they have to be given food packs and they have to be given cash assistance,” Tulfo said.
He said the DSWD has enough supplies of food and non-food items and cash assistance for distribution.
The DSWD still has P372 million quick response funds, which will be availble upon the request of the regional directors, according to Asstistant Secretary Diana Rose Santiago-Cajipe.
“‘Yung RDs nating in concern, ‘yung mababa na ang kanilang funds diyan, you can inform the disaster team natin, USec. Bautista and ASec. Cajipe, if you guys need funds to replenish ‘yung inyong emergency funds na hawak ninyo,” Tulfo said.
—with a report by Michael Delizo, ABS-CBN News