Courage in Times of Adversity

Time check, September 13, 2018, 7:00 PM.

Murmurs turn into loud noises as field office staff struggle to keep things in check for the start of the disaster duty for Typhoon Ompong. People in the field office have been doing this for quite some time but there is an air of difference this time around.

Learnings from previous disaster experiences have made staff hyper-alert about what to do and how to get things done. No longer are they clueless about how to approach things, they seem to know what to do.

But knowing what to do and actually doing it are quite different, just as promising things is different and much easier to do than living up to your promises. But then again, this is disaster duty, and people in the field office are required to live up to their words because people’s safety is at stake.

In the middle of all of this is Constancia Domingo of the Disaster Response and Management Division (DRMD). The diminutive lady with an iron will was tasked to consolidate the reports coming from the different Social Welfare and Development (SWAD) offices regarding pre-emptive evacuations and the like.

September 15, 2018, 1:40 AM

The typhoon started battering through structures, and in the process, destroying the newly-built warehouse and multi-purpose gym of the field office. The main building’s third floor wasn’t spared either. The ceiling collapsed under the pressure of the searing winds.

Soon thereafter, electricity was shut. No longer did Ms. Domingo have the means to communicate to people from the satellite offices to consolidate data.

“Mahirap noong oras na iyon kasi nawalan ng kuryente. Mahirap kumuha ng data at wala ring paraan para magpadala ng impormasyon sa taas (central office),” Ms. Domingo said.

But she couldn’t sleep too because someone had to man the Quick Response Team (QRT) that night. She thought that maybe the winds would die down soon so she could continue consolidating reports for submission afterwards but it didn’t. The winds continued pounding the building like there’s no tomorrow. It became horrifying.

Ms. Domingo started thinking about the safety of her little kid and husband whom she had to leave that night so she could report to the office. Her husband wasn’t feeling alright too. He was earlier diagnosed with a heart condition that needs to be operated as soon as possible.

She thought about leaving the office to check on them but the winds and the threat of debris falling on her were too dangerous to ignore. She couldn’t call or text them too.  The problems continued piling on.

But just like a soldier who continues to march on despite the obvious danger, Ms. Domingo soldiered on with her task. She prayed and gave everything up to her God.

September 15, 2018, 12 Noon

The winds were no more and the people in the field office were allowed to go outside to check the remnants of Ompong. The destruction was apparent and Ms. Domingo couldn’t believe what she saw. Buildings, trees, posts and houses were devastated. Some roads were blocked by debris. There were blots of flooded areas and ruined rice and corn fields. She thought of the people who were affected. She had a moment of grief, and at the same time, a very strong urge to immediately respond to their needs.

Despite the traumatic evening, service is passion for Ms. Domingo, so she continued doing her job with vigor – coordinating with people, consolidating reports and the like. She says that no amount of money can compensate the fulfillment she gets from being able to serve the marginalized.

“Humuhugot tayo ng lakas sa mga taong tinutulungan natin. Hindi naman kalakihan ang sahod sa ginagawa natin pero ang pagtupad sa ating tungkulin at ang pasasalamat na natatanggap natin sa ating mga natutulungan ay sapat na,” Ms. Domingo said.

It is during these times that a public servant’s heart is tested. Those who serve wholeheartedly come out stronger and wiser, while those who lack the passion end up quitting. Ms. Domingo, who surpassed typhoon Ompong feeling braver and more equipped, says that she will still continue to render service no matter how strong the future typhoons can get. ### By: Chester Carlo M. Trinidad, Social Marketing Unit

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Emergency Meeting with LSWDOs for Typhoon Ompong Response Measures Conducted

Penablanca, Cagayan – To ensure the timely delivery of assistance to families with damaged houses caused by Typhoon Ompong, the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 02 (DSWD FO2) organized an emergency meeting with Local Social Welfare and Development Officers (LSWDOs) throughout the region last September 21, 2018 at Valley Hotel.

The meeting comes a day after the completion of the report on the damaged houses and affected families caused by the typhoon throughout the region.

The meeting was also done to elicit comments and suggestions coming from LSWDOs regarding the conduct of disaster response in their respective places as well as to come up with a response plan for the damaged houses in their areas.

OIC-Regional Director Lucia S. Alan presided over the meeting, reiterating the importance of close coordination and cooperation between the field office and LSWDOs to provide immediate intervention to affected families.

“I commend you (LGUs) for being proactive in your disaster-preparation and response activities. Let us continue our efforts to build resilience among our constituents,” OIC-Alan added.

Mr. Rommel Gamiao of the field office’s Disaster Response and Management Division (DRMD) also discussed the disaster-related programs and services of DSWD such as Cash-for-Work (CFW) and Emergency Shelter Cash Assistance Project (ESCAP).

It was also agreed upon that LSWDOs will lead in the assessment of damaged houses once the final guideline is cascaded by DSWD Central Office. ### By: Chester Carlo M. Trinidad, Social Marketing Unit

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DSWD FO2 Leads Response Cluster Meeting for Typhoon Ompong

Tuguegarao City – The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 02 (DSWD FO2) led the Cagayan Valley Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CV-RDRRMC) Response Cluster Meeting for Typhoon Ompong today, September 22, 2018, to tap the assistance of various line agencies and local government units to synchronize their response efforts and come up with unified reports that are accurate and up-to-date.

The meeting was also done to provide technical assistance to Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officers (PDRRMO) and Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officers (MDRRMO) in the conduct of assessment of damaged houses throughout the region and to minimize, if not completely eliminate, concerns from constituents on the veracity of assessments made by the former.

OIC Regional Director Lucia Alan presided over the meeting where she reiterated complete staff work over the conduct of the response endeavour.

“There is a need for us (agencies and LGUs) to work together so we can assist the affected individuals and families and try to work together to come up with a unified guideline in the checking of damaged houses throughout the region,” OIC Alan said.

Franco Lopez, OIC Chief of the Disaster Response and Management Division (DRMD) of the field office also explained the guideline in the checking of partially-damaged and totally-damaged houses for proper guidance in the conduct of assessment later on. ### By: Chester Carlo M. Trinidad, Social Marketing Unit

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Rapid Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis done in Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya

September 20, 2018 – Days of rain following the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong did not deter the Municipal Action Team (MAT) of Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya from joining the Rapid Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis (RDANA) done by the local government unit to check for damaged houses and affected families in the municipality.

The RDANA team had to traverse muddy areas and flooded zones to try to check for affected families from the typhoon.

The team was able to identify 54 families composed of 215 individuals who had to leave their houses and temporarily take refuge in three evacuation centers situated throughout the town.

Mr. Jestony Pineda, a Social Welfare Assistant (SWA) for Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program stationed in Aritao said that while the task was difficult, they found delight in the fact that they were able to help people in their time of need.

“We are happy to help and to serve the people. No one has made it through life without someone else’s help. I had helping hands growing up. This is my way of giving back,” Mr. Pineda said.

The evacuees meanwhile are happy for the assistance they received and thankful that the storm had already passed.

Simang Galvez, 49 and a mother of 9, said that she is thankful that the team made it to their place to evacuate them even though the road to their area was highly treacherous at that time.

“Nagpapasalamat kami na pinuntahan kami at kinamusta. Kahit delikado yung daan, pinilit pa rin nilang kami ay puntahan,” Mrs. Galvez said.

As of the moment, all the evacuated families have already gone back to their respective houses and all the necessary assistance have already been given to them.

DSWD Field Office 02 also prepositioned 400 family food packs to the municipality before the passing of Typhoon Ompong. ### By: Chester Carlo M. Trinidad, Information Officer II, with a report from Ma. Belen M. Ong, Social Welfare Officer III

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DSWD FO2 Spearheads Relief Operations in Cagayan Province

September 19, 2018 – The Field Office, headed by OIC-Regional Director Lucia S. Alan, has started doing field visits to the affected families in different evacuation centers throughout the province of Cagayan.

The field visits are being done to assess the condition of evacuees and the evacuation centers where they stay. DSWD is mandated to ensure that evacuation centers are well equipped to cater to the immediate needs of evacuees.

As part of this endeavor, OIC Alan yesterday visited the municipality of Amulung, Cagayan where 584 families composed of 2,069 individuals were affected by Typhoon Ompong.

“We were able to preposition 300 family food packs here before the typhoon. We want to make sure that the evacuees received the assistance that the field office gave as well as to know their situation here,” OIC Alan said.

Lola Dolores Fiesta, 81, an evacuee presently staying in an evacuation center in Amulung East Central School, said that she felt happy and important because she merited a visit from the field office.

“Agyaman nak ti DSWD ti parabur nga indanun da dituy. Dakkel nga banag iti relief goods kadakami nga nadangran, (I am thankful for the assistance that DSWD gave. The relief goods given will really help us who were affected)” lola Dolores said.

The field office will continue to do field visits especially to the towns adjacent to Baggao, Cagayan where Typhoon Ompong made landfall at 1:40 am last September 15, 2018. ### by: Chester Carlo M. Trinidad, with a report from Melisen A. Taquiqui, Social Marketing Unit

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President Rodrigo Duterte with DSWD Secretary Virginia Orogo Visit Typhoon Stricken Region 02

Tuguegarao City – President Rodrigo Duterte will be making a visit to the Provincial Capitol of Cagayan today, September 16, 2018, to assess the extent of damage done by Typhoon Ompong as well as to coordinate the efforts done by the Regional/Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (R/PDRRMC) and the local government units (LGUs) in disaster response.

The Commander-in-Chief will be assisted by Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Virginia Orogo as well as DSWD regional counterparts.

DSWD Field Office 02 (DSWD FO2) OIC-Regional Director Lucia S. Alan earlier said that the office is working round-the-clock to assist affected families and individuals throughout Region 02.

“We have already started assessing the extent of damage in the areas affected by Ompong and the evacuees have already been given family food packs and other additional assistance,” Ms. Alan added.

As of the moment, there are already 744 barangays, 21,648 families, 79,924 individuals affected by the typhoon throughout the region.

The meeting is scheduled to commence at 1:00 pm today. ### by: Chester Carlo M. Trinidad, Regional Information Officer

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DSWD FO2 conducts Preparation Activities for Typhoon Mangkhut

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 02 (DSWD FO2) has started conducting preparation activities for the imminent arrival of Typhoon Mangkhut later this week.

The field office’s Disaster Response and Management Division (DRMD) already distributed 21,700 family food packs to the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya as preparation for the typhoon.

The province of Batanes meanwhile has 432 prepositioned sacks of rice ready for distribution, 72 sacks of which are in the provincial office, while the 6 municipalities of the province has 60 prepositioned sacks of rice each.

Mr. Rommel Gamiao of the DRMD led a team that went to Batanes today to conduct preliminary meetings with the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) as well as to check the condition of the province’s evacuation centers.

The DSWD FO2 warehouse meanwhile has 5,000 available family food packs, 1,000 hygiene kits, 2,500 collapsible water carrier with purification water tablet and 1,000 sleeping kits ready for distribution in case Local Government Units need augmentation.

Members of the Philippine Army also assisted in the stockpiling of family food packs in the field office.

OIC – Regional Director Lucia S. Alan said that the converged efforts of DSWD staff along with support coming from partner agencies is needed for a quick response to the places to be affected by the above-mentioned typhoon. ### By: Chester Carlo M. Trinidad, Regional Information Officer

 

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DSWD Awards List of Poor in the Region to POPCOM

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 02 (DSWD-FO2) thru the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR), popularly known as Listahanan, awarded the List of Poor Households in the Region to the Commission on Population Regional Office 02 (POPCOM RO2) on July 30, 2018.

Pursuant to Executive Order No. 12 (E.O. No. 12), otherwise known as “Attaining and Sustaining Zero Unmet Need for Modern Family Planning”, POPCOM is mandated to undertake and coordinate demand generation activities on Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning (RPFP) to ensure that couples are able to meet their desired number of children by teaching them topics on responsible parenting, fertility awareness and different family planning methods.

Thru Listahanan, the POPCOM will be able to identify who, where and how many have not yet undergone the RPFP class and identify from among them those with unmet needs so as to know those couples who need to be referred to trained health service providers for mentoring, referral and counseling on Modern Family Planning.

Moreover, Listahanan would enable POPCOM to plan and forecast the necessary budgetary requirements for demand generation activities.

POPCOM is the first National Government Agency (NGA) in the region to be awarded with the Listahanan List of Poor in Region 2. ### By: Margaret G. Arao, Listahanan Information Officer

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