Aquino OKs augmentation of Albay evacuation funds

Bea Cupin

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The DSWD is giving the province more than half a million food packs to feed over 12,000 evacuees for 90 days
AUGMENTATION. DILG Secretary Manuel Roxas III announces in a press conference that President Benigno Aquino III has approved the augmentation of funds for the province of Albay. Photo by Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Twenty-four days since alert level 3 was hoisted over Mayon Volcano in Albay, the national government pledged to augment the dwindling funds of the province.

More than 12,000 families, totaling over 55,000 individuals, are in 45 evacuation centers all over the province. (READ: Albay needs P118M a month for Mayon evacuation)

In a Wednesday, October 8, press conference at the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manual Roxas II said President Benigno Aquino III approved the augmentation of funds to support the evacuees for at least 90 days, or 3 months.

“Augmentation [of funds] has been given [by the national government] subali’t pangmatagalan ito (but this situation will stay the same for a long time),” said Roxas, who sits as the National Disaster Risk Reduction Council’s vice chairman for preparedness.

Albay Governor Joey Salceda said the pledge was “unprecedented.”

Unprecedented sa province ng Albay na ganito ang klaseng pagtulong na halos to the last centavo and the last person are accounted for. Bibihira iyan,” he told reporters. (This kind of help is unprecedented in the province of Albay. Everything has been accounted for: to the last centavo and the last person. This is rare.)

Salceda said that while the province’s towns and cities, as well as international organizations have been pouring funds for the evacuation of thousands, much more is still needed. The governor said 60% of the funds is allocated for food, while health needs come second.

More than P117.7 million has already been spent preparing for the eruption of Mayon. Of this, P63.39 million came from the province’s funds, while another P54.3 million came from the national government. Salceda told reporters that based on previous volcanic events, evacuees might need to stay in evacuation centers for 90 to 180 days.

Roxas said a bulk of the funds will be spent by the Department of Social Welfare and Development to send over 540,000 food packs to feed more than 12,000 families 3 meals a day. The rest of the funds will go to the education and health departments.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Soliman said by Sunday, October 12, a caravan from Manila will deliver an initial 54,000 food packs that will tide evacuees over for 8 days. The rest of the food items – 6 kilos of rice, canned goods, noodles, coffee and milk per food pack, good for 2 days – will be purchased in Albay itself.

Atin lang idinadagdag ito kaagad para lang magamit agad nila Governor Joey at ng mga evacuees,” said Soliman, who is the NDRRMC’s vice chairman for disaster response. (We’re rushing the first 54,000 food packs so the province can use them right away.)

The caravan will also be bringing family kits for evacuees – 12,600 each from the DSWD and health department.

Salceda said the national government has already given family kits – blankets and mats – to Albay, but replenishments are needed.

The education department will be using the additional funds, meanwhile, to make sure children can still attend class. Funds for health and sanitation services were one of Salceda’s biggest concerns heading into the meeting.

Health funds will be spent for the construction of bathrooms for evacuees and for the salaries of some 300 nurses Salceda hired to watch over the evacuation centers.

The region’s Office of the Civil Defense will receive 327 sets of tiolet and bath kits worth P30 million, while the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (Apsemo) will receive P42 million for “maintenance expenditures,” said Salceda.

Salceda said he has yet to discuss where the province will source additional funds should Albay’s internally displaced persons need to stay in evacuation centers beyond the 90-day period. –


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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.