BAGUIO CITY – Government agencies in charge of assuring that humanitarian supplies reach the people in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) during calamities or disasters have cemented their partnership for more efficient and faster delivery of assistance particularly food and non-food items.
“We want to address the challenges of the inadequacy of transportation and resources especially during weekends and for the delivery of items within the region which makes this collaboration more important in delivering food packs and non-food items within the region,” said Arnel Garcia, regional director of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in CAR, during the ceremonial signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on logistics management on Thursday.
He said the topography of the region makes the pre-positioning of relief items in the provinces more important, especially before and during a calamity.
The agreement will also assure that relief items are in good condition and secured during transport.
The DSWD is the vice chairman for disaster response and cluster lead on food and non-food items, camp coordination and camp management, and the internally displaced population of the regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (DRRMC).
He said the MOU will support the initiatives of the department in adopting a unified and coordinated approach of providing systematic, harmonious, and coordinated efforts in delivering humanitarian aid to disaster-affected population.
The MOU was signed to support the communities affected during the southwest monsoon (habagat), as well as during some 14 to 15 typhoons that enter the country every year.
He said the Office of the Presidential Adviser for North Luzon is part of the MOU to strengthen the capacity that expands to other neighboring regions.
Garcia said several provinces of the region like Kalinga and Apayao are closer to Region 2 center in Tuguegarao, Cagayan than CAR’s regional center in Baguio City and Benguet province. Abra is also closer to Region 1 than this city.
“We are raising an inter-regional capacity in terms of response,” he said.
Office of Civil Defense (OCD) director and CDRRMC chairman Albert Mogol said the convergence of all agencies is aimed at giving better service to the communities who are already suffering due to disasters.
Mogol said that in 2019, the Cordillera DRRM initiated the coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police for the use of military and police camps in the provinces as staging areas of relief items that the government will distribute during calamities.
Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Regional Director Khadaffy Tanggol also said they saw the need to assist the DSWD when the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic struck to transport family food packs for distribution to residents.
“We are happy we have this undertaking,” he said.
The DPWH’s role in the MOU is to augment mobility, assets, resources for the delivery of items, and other forms of humanitarian aid from the DSWD.
It also assures that roads are cleared so that goods will arrive at the destination on time.
He said this will also remove the jurisdictional limitations on the function of the agency making sure that resources are put together to assist other agencies.
“At the end of the day, we are all from one government, one country, and one Filipino working for the good of our fellow Filipinos,” Tanggol said.
Meanwhile, Presidential Adviser for North Luzon, Atty. Raul Lambino, said the approach “is a whole of the nation, whole of government, putting resources together to give better service to the people”. (PNA)