By Zaldy De Layola

Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rex Gatchalian (File photo)

MANILA – Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian on Monday said he has ordered the immediate dispatch of an additional 289,906 family food packs (FFPs) for regions ravaged by Super Typhoon Egay.

He said the National Resource Operations Center (NROC) is expected to dispatch the FFPs boxes in Ilocos Region, Central Luzon and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) in the first two weeks of August.

The additional FFPs will augment the assistance the DSWD earlier released for the typhoon victims, particularly those affected by massive floods due to southwest monsoon or habagat enhanced by Egay and now by Typhoon Falcon.

Of the total number, 120,406 FFPs will be sent to the Ilocos Regional Office while 24,500 FFPs to CAR field office (FO), in line with Gatchalian’s directive to the Disaster Response and Management Group (DRMG) to prepare the matrix for the total number of FFPs for immediate dispatch.

In the case of Central Luzon, Gatchalian told Region 3 FO Director Jonathan Dirain to relay to the LGUs to pick up their assigned FFPs at the National Resource Operations Center (NROC) in Pasay City because of their proximity to Metro Manila.

Central Luzon has the biggest allocation of FFPs at 140,000 boxes for the provinces which experienced massive floods.

DRMG Undersecretary Diane Cajipe said the FFPs for the provinces in Region 3 include Pampanga with 50,000 FFPs; Bataan, 30,000; Bulacan, 50,000; and Zambales, 10,000 FFPs.

“We will start dispatching 10,000 boxes of food packs for Pampanga,” Cajipe said.

Pampanga’s Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) said a state of calamity was declared in Macabebe, San Simon, Sto. Tomas, and San Luis due to floods that affected 222 barangays in 16 towns.

The Office of Civil Defense in Central Luzon said more than 189,000 families have been affected by floods in Central Luzon.

DSWD Assistant Secretary Romel Lopez said Gatchalian ordered the distribution of assistance to ensure that sufficient relief goods are present in the regions affected by Egay and Falcon.

Lopez also assured the public that the DSWD is continuously coordinating with affected LGUs to monitor on-the-ground situations to prevent any untoward incidents in evacuation centers.

“We urge all affected residents to stay vigilant and continue to follow the directives of their chief executives to ensure their safety at all times,” he said. (PNA)