SIARGAO ISLAND, Surigao del Norte – Alongside the start of the 1st Dapa Siargao International Dragon Boat Festival on Saturday here, residents also received financial aid from the government through the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

A total of 2,000 Dapa residents who continue to suffer from the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic and recent natural calamities received a total of PHP6 million in financial aid or PHP3,000 each.

The release of the financial aid was made possible through the collaborations of the DSWD-Caraga and the offices of Surigao del Norte 1st District Rep. Francisco Jose Matugas II and Tingog Party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez.

The town of Dapa is considered the commercial center of Siargao Island and was among the areas devastated by Super Typhoon Odette in December 2021.

“The town and its people continue to strive to recover from the ruins of typhoon Odette. Our tourism is now gaining ground as we hosted the international dragon boat festival. Support to our residents through AICS is vital to assist them in recovering fully from the past crisis,” Dapa town Mayor Elizabeth Matugas said in a statement.

The hosting of the international dragon boat festival is a testament to the resilience of the town and its people from the past calamities and the pandemic, the mayor added.

A total of 28 teams composed of 918 athletes from the country and abroad joined the race which will conclude Sunday. (PNA)