DSWD: Food enough in evacuation centers; focus now on hygiene kits, rehabilitation
BATANGAS, Philippines – The Department of Social Welfare and Development said Saturday, January 18, that there had been a deluge in food donations received by evacuation centers around the province of Batangas.
According to Assistant Secretary Anton Hernandez, the government has enough food, so donors must now focus on providing hygiene kits to evacuees.
“Ang mga Pilipino, likas na magiting. Kung gusto 'nyong tumulong, ang cooked food ay hindi encouraged because of the spoilage. Ang formula milk ay bawal. Kung gusto natin makatulong, the best option now is to provide hygiene kits and sleeping kits. But as to food, do not worry, there is sufficient food,” he said.
(Filipinos are inherently great. If you want to help, giving cooked food is not encouraged because of the [possibility] of spoilage. Formula milk is prohibited too. If we want to help, the best option now is to provide hygiene kits and sleeping kits. But as to food, do not worry, there is sufficient food.)
Hernandez said that among the gaps that the agency found during their initial assessment on the ground is the lack of sanitation facilities.
“Isang gap na nakikita natin sa laki ng area at ng population ay sanitation. Schools kasi 'yan, hindi naman designed as evacuation centers,” he added.
(One gap we see, given the extent of the [affected] area and population, is sanitation. It's because they're schools, not designated evacuation centers.)
Because of this, the national government has requested members of the military to construct more toilets.
“We have the airforce and the army to help in the construction. This is a health issue. We are encouraging the local government to make use of our engineering units to start constructing. All we need are some materials from the LGUs (local government units),” said South Luzon Armed Forces Commander Major General Antonio Parlade Jr.
Over the weekend, the traffic along South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) went viral on social media due to the massive number of vehicles transporting aid for Taal evacuees.
To those who still want to extend their assistance, Hernandez said: “Doon po sa iba, 'wag masyadong magmadali kasi tapos na rin ang crucial period. Ang suggestion ko, when we rebuild better, siguro doon tayo mag-focus sa rehabilitation part kasi hindi p'wedeng government lang. We will need a whole-of-nation approach to rebuild better houses, livelihood, and better schools in proper locations. 'Yung mga nag-iisip na tumulong, doon tayo sa rehabilitation part.”
(To those who still want to help, don't rush since we're past the crucial period. My suggestion is, when we rebuild better, we focus on that, because goverment cannot carry out the rehabilitation alone. We will need a whole-of-nation approach to build better houses, livelihood, and better schools in proper locations. Those who are still thinking of helping, let's do so in the rehabilitation part.) – Rappler.com