DSWD Bicol continuously provides relief augmentation to COVID-19 affected communities
When the pandemic broke-out in 2020, immediate assistance both monetary and food, were needed. Among the most affected by the pandemic were the working class and the marginalized. After lifting the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), only areas with a high number of positive cases were placed under granular lockdown. Since 2020, DSWD Bicol was able to serve 205,496 beneficiaries with food and non-food items amounting to PhP 93,623,761.86. As to granular lockdown, there have been 30,974 beneficiaries served with 39,406 Family Food Packs (FFPs) amounting to PhP 17,768,530.14 and non-food items amounting to PhP 30,324.00 as of January 28, 2021.
Recently, Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Catanduanes, Masbate, Sorsogon, and Naga City have been placed under Alert Level 3 from February 1-15, 2022 due to an increase in COVID-19 cases.
Stories of COVID-19 affected families
Multiple narratives of individuals affected by COVID-19 have been heard since the beginning of the pandemic. These narratives speak of jobs and livelihood, the loss of properties due to overlapping disasters, and loss of lives.
A part time instructor in Catanduanes recounted her family’s hospitalization experience during the height of the pandemic. “Nahirapan (kaming) ipasok ang anak na may-sakit sa ospital (It was difficult to have our child admitted at the hospital)”. This was due to the overwhelming number of patients and inadequate personnel. She also mentioned losing her job because schools were shut down. Her family were among the beneficiaries of Social Amelioration Program and later, Food-for-Work program implemented by DSWD.
The overlapping disasters in 2020 made recovery from the impacts of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) seemingly impossible. Livelihoods were extremely affected by the series of typhoons which hit the Region in the last quarter of 2020. A housewife in Caramoran, Catanduanes shared that the typhoon added to her problems. “Problema kung paano aayusin ang bubong ng bahay, may TB of the bones ang asawa kaya mag-isang naghahanap-buhay. May 1 year old rin na anak na kailangan ng pang-gatas (The problem is how to fix our roof, my husband has TB of the bones so, I have to work alone. We have a one-year-old child who also needs to be fed milk)”.
Requesting for Augmentation
The agency has been receiving requests for relief augmentation from various Local Government Units and partner stakeholders. As such, a standard process has to be followed to efficiently deliver FFPs to the beneficiaries. Based on Memorandum Circular No. 11 series of 2021, requesting LGUs must comply the following requirements: (1) request letter containing the number of beneficiaries signed by the Local Chief Executive addressed to the Regional Director; (2) list of beneficiaries; (3) copy of resolution or certification declaring granular lockdown as ratified by the Regional IATF. Once completed, it must be sent to the DSWD field office for approval. Once approved, the Disaster Response Management Division (DRMD) will coordinate with the requesting LGU through a reply letter and call to discuss delivery of food packs. The food packs received must be distributed to the beneficiaries within seven (7) calendar days upon receipt by the requesting agency.