The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) assured the public that the agency has sufficient funds as well as food and non-food items (FNFIs) that are ready for distribution to those who will be directly affected by the long dry spell due to the looming El Niño.
DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian presided a video call meeting with the different Field Offices (FOs) to check on the preparedness of the regional directors for the El Niño phenomenon.
The online briefing, which was co-presided by Disaster Response Management Group Assistant Secretary Diana Rose Cajipe, was called by Secretary Gatchalian to ensure that funds and other relief items are prepositioned strategically in the DSWD warehouses and are readily available for immediate augmentation to local government units (LGUs).
All the regional directors and officers who attended the video conference affirmed that their respective FOs are on alert and have adequate standby funds and stockpile of food boxes for the anticipated impact of the drought.
Social Welfare and Development (SWAD) Teams in the different regions are also on standby and continuously coordinating with the LGUs to determine ways on how to assist those who will be affected by the dry spell, especially the farmers and farm laborers.
Currently, the DSWD Central Office, the FOs and the National Resource Operations Center have stockpiles and standby funds amounting to more than ₱1.35 billion.
According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the El Niño will possibly develop in July, August and September and may persist until 2024.
Secretary Gatchalian has instructed all Field Offices to continue their monitoring of the situation in their respective areas so that appropriate response can be immediately provided, in line with the directive of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to ensure that families affected by disaster will not go hungry.
Catherine R. Cueto