News Release

Palace says there’s available government assistance in drought-stricken Mindanao areas

The government has readied assistance to communities affected by drought in Mindanao even prior to the eruption of violence in Kidapawan City on Friday, a Palace official said on Saturday.

It was reported that two farmers died and several others were injured on Friday when police dispersal turned violent in Kidapawan City.

But citing DSWD’s April 1 report, Undersecretary Manuel Quezon of the PCDSPO said there’ve been 125,228 families or 626,140 persons affected by El Niño in Region 12.

This includes the provinces of North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, including Autonomous Region In Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and Maguindanao.

He told dzRB Radyo Ng Bayan that the DSWD released P133,426,000 including funds to maintain and complete the required or standard stockpiled 30,000-families food pack and initial assistance for the cash-for-work program.

For North Cotabato, DSWD has been coordinating with provincial social, welfare and development office of North Cotabato and sent a team to the area since Wednesday to assess, validate and identify the needed assistance of families who joined the rally.

As of April 1, the DSWD has already delivered 3,300 family food packs to its satellite office in Kidapawan City for distribution to affected families and another 2,700 family food packs to be delivered today, Saturday, according to Quezon.

“They even conducted Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) sessions to women rallyists at the convention hall of the Department of Education in Kidapawan City,” he said.

The DSWD also conducted assessment and evaluation of the identities of those who died and injured during the clash so that appropriate interventions could be done by the government.

Quezon pointed out that the government assistance has arrived in the region but people must follow certain processes to avail the government support.

“They just want to make sure that they get the assistance they deserve in a proper way, …in a way that doesn’t add to their problems …and yet these were rejected by some,” he said.

Asked by reporters why the government has to impose food-for-work program despite the emergency situation, Quezon said its been a government policy and the administration wants to treat people as dignified individuals.

It’s the difference between patronage politics and genuine public service, the Palace official said. He said people remain dignified and can contribute to the community even under an emergency. PND (as)