CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, LA UNION | The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 1 (DSWD FO 1) joined in the Department’s Preparedness Meeting conducted by the Central Office (CO) – Disaster Response and Management Group (DRMG) together with other Field Offices for the DSWD’s preparedness on resource and logistics on the possible effect of Tropical Storm Aghon.

During the meeting, the discussion centered on the readiness for Tropical Storm Aghon and the incoming La Niña. The Field Offices are reminded to be on top of the management of Food and Non-Food Items (FNFIs) in the satellite warehouses, to ensure the quality of the FNFIs is monitored, tampering be prevented, and its components will remain intact unless authorized by the Department.

In the area of protection, it was also reminded to pay attention to the provision of safe spaces for the vulnerable sectors especially the children, women, lactating mothers, and elderly because abuse tends to increase during disasters.

After the nationwide DSWD Preparedness Meeting, the Pre-Disaster Risk Assessment (PDRA) Meeting with the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council 1 (RDRRMC1) immediately followed.

Overall the report of the DOST PAGASA indicated that the Region will experience rainfall and thunderstorms especially in the provinces of Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte. However, considering the effects of El Niño, the rains will be beneficial to the community.

Regional Director Marie Angela S. Gopalan, Vice Chair of the Disaster Response and Early Recovery, persistently explains the different roles of the LGUs, Provincial Government, and National Government Agencies in times of disaster response.

On the one hand, DENR – Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau (MGB) presented during the RDRRMC1 PDRA Meeting that four (4) upland municipalities in the province of Ilocos Sur namely Cervantes, Gregorio del Pilar, San Emilio, and Quirino are susceptible to landslides.

DSWD FO 1 reported that it is ready to augment Local Government Units (LGUs) should they need assistance. It has a total of 69,525 Food and Non-Food Items stored strategically in 19 DSWD Field Office 1 Regional and Satellite Warehouses located in the LGUs.

Regional Director (RD) Marie Angela S. Gopalan clarified that the DSWD FO is still the authority in releasing the Food and Non-Food Items prepositioned in LGUs.

It was also explained that the LGU is the first to provide support to their constituents in times of crisis, followed by the Provincial Government as stated in the Republic Act No. 10121. The Department shall provide augmentation for the Food and Non-Food Items only upon depletion of LGUs resources, according to the DSWD Administrative Order No. 2, series of 2021. Nevertheless, DSWD ensures its readiness to assist the LGU as needed. By: Nicole Kasandra A. Lipawen, Information Officer II – Disaster Response Management Division