DAVAO CITY—Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman on Friday said the government was taking all the necessary steps to bring back normalcy in typhoon-ravaged areas of Mindanao to help people rebuild their lives.
In a dialogue with local officials and typhoon victims in Davao Oriental aired on local television, Soliman also announced that power was being restored in the affected provinces of Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley.
Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras who visited Cateel, Davao Oriental with Soliman, said the government was using all available resources and manpower to help erect toppled electric posts in affected areas.
The government, Soliman said, would start building bunk houses for typhoon victims under the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s “cash for work” program.
Under the program, volunteer workers will receive three quarters of the P218 minimum wage in Southern Mindanao a day for four days, the projected period for the construction of each bunk house.
Soliman said nonmember of the Pantawid Pamilya Program will get priority in the hiring of laborers. The purpose, she added, is to normalize lives in the soonest time possible by making money accessible to all.
The DSWD official said that government hopes to complete the bunk houses by Dec. 22 and will distribute a noche buena pack on that date to affected residents because “we want to cheer them up this Yuletide Season.”
Soliman also told local reporters after the dialogue that she had asked village officials in Cateel to speed up the distribution of access cards to each family so that they can effectively monitor the distribution of food and nonfood assistance to their constituents.
The access cards would also help the government ensure that every family gets its share in the relief distribution program, she added.
Cash relief assistance
Meanwhile, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said that members of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) in Davao whose families were affected by Typhoon Pablo will get a P5000 cash relief assistance.
Baldoz said the P30 million total assistance to registered active and inactive Owwa members and their families residing in Region 11 was approved by the Owwa board of trustees through Board Resolution No. 015.
“The cash relief fund is in response to the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) and Owwa’s commitment to protect the welfare and promote the well-being of its member overseas Filipino workers and their families, especially in times of calamities (and) disasters such as this,” Baldoz said, as she directed Owwa Administrator Carmelita Dimzon to fast-track the distribution of the cash assistance.
Soliman said that in Cateel, village officials had managed to facilitate the distribution of relief packs numbering about 44,600 to typhoon victims in 16 villages.
Almendras urged Davao Oriental officials “to be united and strive as one to bring (the province) back on its feet” amid reports of bickering between Baganga Mayor Remegio Nazareno and Davao Oriental Gov. Corazon Malanyaon over the distribution of food aid.
Nazareno claimed that Malanyaon has been funneling more aid to Cateel, where her brother, Camilo Nuñez, is mayor. But Malanyaon denied Nazareno”s claim and called for sobriety amid perceptions of unequal distribution of relief goods.
“This is not the time to incite people to indignation, instead we need to inspire people to take positive action,” the governor said in a statement sent to the Inquirer.
Soliman and Almendras also visited New Bataan in Compostela Valley where they learned that there was dire need for more medicines against diarrhea, pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.
The Davao region was among the areas declared as “national calamity area” under Presidential Proclamation No. 522.
Citing statistics provided by the Owwa Office in Region 11, Dimzon said that registered victims had reached a total of 6,000 with some 4,000 families in Compostela Valley; 1,500 from Davao Oriental, and another 500 in Davao del Norte. Allan Nawal, with a report from Charlie Senase, Inquirer Mindanao