(L) Volunteers from Barangay Samara in Aringay, La Union help unload family food packs from DSWD FO 1 to be distributed to the 1,700 affected families during the onslaught of Typhoon Maring. (R) DSWD FO 1 personnel distribute family food packs to the families affected in Barangay Poblacion Norte, Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 1 (DSWD FO 1), as a frontline agency, is now on-the-move in distributing family food packs (FFPs) to the different local government units (LGUs) which were severely affected by the onslaught of tropical storm (TS) Maring.

The DSWD FO 1 initially distributed a total of 20,018 FFPs in the province of La Union with breakdown as follows: 500 for Naguilian; 602 for Bagulin; 1,700 for Aringay; 718 for Sto. Tomas; 79 for Sudipen; 1,000 for San Juan; 1,500 for San Gabriel and Bacnotan; 5,000 for Bauang and Luna, with the highest number of affected families at 10,800 to respond to the immediate need.

While in the Province of Ilocos Sur, the agency distributed 7,500 FFPs, as follows: 500 FFPs each for the towns of Tagudin, Sta. Cruz, Sta. Lucia, Narvacan, and Candon City; 1,000 FFPs for Santa and Vigan City; and 3,000 FFPs for Sta. Maria.

The said distribution in both provinces totaled to 27,518 FFPs.

“According to initial reports, La Union is the most affected among the provinces in the Ilocos region, that is why relief augmentation was centered here,” said DSWD FO 1 Regional Director Marie Angela S. Gopalan.

RD Gopalan said that the Provincial Government of La Union requested a total of 55,000 FFPs to date.

“Requests of LGUs for augmentation are still subject to a review which involves the assessment and/or validation of declared eligible affected families. DSWD follows a process to allow us to systematically and strategically respond to the urgent needs of our beneficiaries especially when an impact of a disaster is significant,” she explained.

In addition, a Rapid Disaster Assessment Needs Analysis or RDANA is being conducted in the region to determine the extent of damage caused by TY Maring.

The Ilocos Region has recorded a total of 121,675 affected families or 511,852 persons, as of 16 October 2021.

(L) A 73-year old affected individual and a former tricycle driver Jaime Tatunay of Barangay Samara in Aringay, La Union receives a family food pack provided by DSWD FO1 personnel during a distribution activity conducted in Aringay, La Union. (R) DSWD FO 1 Regional Director Marie Angela S. Gopalan personally hands over a family food pack to 76-year old Virginia Dulay, also a resident of Barangay Samara in Aringay, La Union.

Meanwhile, RD Gopalan personally checked and monitored the situation of the affected families, and handed over the FFPs to the beneficiaries in Aringay town.

In an interview with a 73-year old affected individual and a former tricycle driver Jaime Tatunay of Barangay Samara in Aringay, he said, “We are very happy that DSWD went down to us to provide relief packs because we were not expecting this. This is a big help in our food needs and we want to thank the LGU and DSWD for showing their concern for the families here.”

Another beneficiary 76-year old widow Virginia Dulay of the same barangay said, “Life is hard here and I was very worried that I will have no food to eat after the surge of the typhoon but because of this relief pack, I do not have to worry. I am very grateful to DSWD for this act of regard for us.”

The cost of assistance provided by DSWD FO 1 is at PhP 8,770,980.00.

“DSWD FO 1 is very committed to assist all affected LGUs and their constituents, and we assure our beneficiaries of a ‘Maagap at Mapagkalingang Serbisyo’,” RD Gopalan closed. (By: Anne Hazel Fajardo-Flores, Social Marketing Officer III, KALAHI-CIDSS/ Social Marketing Unit)