Ramon Puzon, a stroke victim, smiles when he receives DSWD family food packs and sleeping kit.

The DSWD Field Office 1 (FO 1), in coordination with local government units (LGUs), simultaneously conducts relief augmentation and distribution to Typhoon Ompong victims throughout the four provinces of Region 1. High priority is given by the Department to persons with disabilities (PWDs), pregnant women, older persons, and other persons with special concerns during disaster response, conduct of early recovery operations as well as when preparing calamity resiliency plans.

In Calasiao, Pangasinan, Mayor Joseph Arman C. Bauzon shared that PWDs, older persons, and pregnant women should be prioritized during relief distribution to ensure their special needs and welfare. Mayor Bauzon disclosed that the LGU always observes the provision of special mechanisms to these individuals to preserve their access to equal opportunities.

Lala Badayos, 22-year-old evacuee who gave birth to a baby boy during the height of Typhoon Ompong, narrated that the barangay council of Brgy. Lumbang, Calasiao provided her sufficient space during her stay at the barangay hall. “Kung may miting ang Barangay Council, sila ang nag-aadjust, sa labas ng barangay hall na sila nagmimiting (The Barangay Council adjusts during its meetings, they conduct it outside the barangay hall),” Lala said. During the relief distribution, Lala received a DSWD family food pack (FFP) and underwent a counseling session by SWO II Juliet Sicat, SWAD Team Leader – Central Pangasinan.

Meanwhile, DSWD FO 1 and LGU Calasiao conducted a rapid damage assessment and needs analysis (RDANA) in Brgy. Dinalaoan to determine the type and extent of damages brought about by Typhoon Ompong. It was ascertained that a 71-year-old stroke victim Ramon Puzon who lives in a shanty was heavily affected by the typhoon. FFPs and sleeping kit were immediately provided. He was assessed for possible provision of Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA).

Further, PWDs from various barangays received food and non-food items at the Regional Evacuation Center in Calasiao. David Bulario, President of Federation of PWDs in Region 1, commended the government, DSWD in particular, for giving full attention and protection to their needs during calamities.

Calasiao Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer (MSWDO) Editha Gorospe assured that equitable access to social services is provided to victims regardless of physical features or affiliation. The LGU gives prime support to PWDs in compliance with RA 7277 or “Magna Carta for Disabled Persons” which states that PWDs have the same rights as other people to take their proper place in society. (by: Darwin T. Chan, PDO III)