By Zaldy De Layola

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian (PNA file photo)

MANILA – Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian on Sunday led the provision of disaster assistance to displaced individuals affected by the 6.8 magnitude earthquake in the municipalities of Malapatan and Glan, Sarangani province.

Gatchalian assured the continued assistance to the victims during a meeting with local government officials led by Sarangani Governor Rogelio Pacquiao.

“Napagkasunduan namin na hanggang sa kakailanganin ng mga local government unit ng suporta sa food packs, tuloy-tuloy yan (We have agreed that as long as the local government units need support in food packs, this will continue),” the DSWD chief said.

He assured an unhampered delivery of aid through the department’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program while other provisions will be completed by the DSWD Field Office on or before Dec. 15.

Also at the meeting, officials discussed how the government could help those whose homes were destroyed during the Nov. 17 earthquake that hit several parts of Mindanao.

Aside from AICS, the agency would provide financial support through the Emergency Cash Transfer (ECT) program beginning January next year.

Following the meeting, Gatchalian led the distribution of AICS payout to 1,000 beneficiaries in the municipality of Malapatan and 600 beneficiaries in Glan.

Families with totally damaged houses received PHP10,000 each, while those with partially damaged houses were given PHP5,000 each.

Aside from financial assistance, the DSWD Field Office Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City) distributed two family food packs and a kitchen kit to each of the beneficiaries.

To date, the agency has already provided more than PHP39 million worth of assistance to the affected families, consisting of more than PHP18 million worth of food and non-food items and more than PHP20 million in financial assistance in the Davao and Soccsksargen regions. (PNA)