Only 15 barangays in Surigao have yet to receive aid, says DSWD chief

MANILA — The Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) office in the Caraga region has reported that only 15 out of 54 barangays in Surigao City have not been given assistance as of Wednesday.

Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo identified the barangays as Cagniog, Canlanipa, Capalayan, Lipata, Lisondra, Mabini, Mapawa, Mat-I, Nonoc, Quezon, Rizal, San Jose, Sugbay, Taft, and Washington, some of which are island communities that are difficult to reach due to massive waves.

Taguiwalo noted that the officials of these barangays have yet to submit their list of totally and partially damaged houses that will be used as the basis for the assistance. They have also not withdrawn their respective allocations, she added.

The social welfare chief further reported that DSWD-Caraga officials and staff were in the municipality of Anao-aon on Monday and Tuesday to distribute relief goods in Barangay Poblacion.

Efforts to transport the goods are meeting challenges because the bridge connecting Surigao City and the municipality was damaged in the earthquake, she said, adding that the detour being used passes through a wide quarry, and a river has to be crossed.

According to the DSWD, some residents of barangays Lipata, Cagniog, Canlanipa, Mabua, San Juan, Washington, Luna, Sabang, Taft, and Mat-I were present during the initial distribution drive last Sunday. Residents from these barangays also received family food packs and drinking water from non-governmental organizations and private institutions, as well as local government units.

Taguiwalo said DSWD-Caraga staff and officials are in Surigao City to continue data validation and to scout the area for possible camping grounds for those who leave their houses at night for fear of aftershocks. They are being given laminated sacks, she said.

“We assure the Filipino people that we are doing our best to help our ‘kababayans’ in Surigao. We laud the efforts of other agencies and NGOs to also help Surigao and all those affected by the earthquake. We need to cooperate and coordinate our efforts so we can reach and provide for all those who need,” said Taguiwalo.