DNA sampling starts on victims’ kin in Itogon landslide

Marje Pelayo   •   September 26, 2018   •   3206


BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – Around 30 individuals are still patiently waiting at the training center of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Baguio City.

All of them are hoping that anytime soon they will be able to see at least the bodies of their loved ones buried beneath the rubble of a landslide that descended upon a barangay in Itogon, Benguet during the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong a week ago.

On Tuesday, September 25, four more bodies were recovered from the landslide site.

The next day, authorities began the DNA sampling of the victims’ kin to speed up the process of identifying and claiming the bodies.

The DSWD Cordillera has also started processing burial assistance for relatives of those who are still missing.

This, after Regional Director Ruben Carandang of the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) declared that there were no signs of life anymore under the rubble.

The OCD also declared that the operation would be search and retrieval starting today.

According to the Cordillera Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC), the death toll from the landslide has already reached 107 with 87 from Benguet province (82 from Itogon) and 31 still missing. — Marje Pelayo (with reports from Grace Doctolero)

IATF places Cagayan, Apayao, Benguet back to MECQ due to high COVID-19 cases

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Northern provinces Cagayan, Apayao, and Benguet have reverted to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) after recording high cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The MECQ status will take effect on May 11 until May 23.

As of May 10, Cagayan has 4,657 cases followed by Benguet with 531 and Apayao with 63.

Business operations in the said areas will be limited according to the directive of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

A liquor ban will be implemented while religious gatherings will only be allowed at 10% capacity.  Entertainment and recreational events also be suspended.

Benguet governor Melchor Diclas reported that majority of the COVID-19 cases in their area are severe. Hospitals in Benguet are also in short supply of respirators.

“Dumadami talaga ang mga pasyente natin. Marami ang namamatay at marami ang nagkakasakit ng critical at serious. Ang respirator natin may nagagamit tayong 13 na respirator. Ang bakante nalang ay dalawa,” he said.

(Our patients are increasing. Many have died and many are in critical or serious condition. We have 13 respirators but there are only two available units left.)

Hospitals in Apayao, meanwhile, are at 80% critical level.  In Cagayan Province, Governor Manuel Mamba said Tuguegarao City’s home quarantine setup is still contributing to the rising cases of COVID-19.

“Hindi magiging epektibo ang MECQ sa Tuguegarao City hangga’t may home quarantine,” he said.

(MECQ in Tuguegarao City will not be effective as long as home quarantine is being implemented .)

Mamba continues to reiterate the need to build isolation facilities in Tuguegarao to accommodate COVID-19 patients. AAC (With reports from Marvin Calas)



Roll out of P1,000 cash aid for ECQ residents set for April 6 or 7 — DSWD

Marje Pelayo   •   April 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has announced that P1,000 cash assistance for each affected resident in areas under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) may be distributed either on Tuesday (April 6) or Wednesday (April 7).

“Maaring magsimula ang pamamahagi ng financial assistance bukas or April 7 matapos na maibaba ngayong araw ng Bureau of Treasury ang pondo sa mga concerned local government units,” confirmed DSWD Spokesperson Irene Dumlao during the regular ‘Laging Handa’ briefing on Monday.

Dumlao also specified the target beneficiaries of the said aid pursuant to the joint memorandum circular signed by the DSWD, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Department of National Defense (DND).

The beneficiaries of the ECQ cash aid include:
Beneficiaries of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) under Bayanihan 1
Recipients of the Emergency Subsidy Program under Bayanihan 2
SAP waitlisted beneficiaries
Vulnerable sectors (low-income earners, PWDs, solo parents)

Dumlao explained that under the Joint Memorandum Circular, the local government units (LGUs) are given discretion as to the mode or manner of distribution whether cash or in kind.

Upon receipt of the cash allocation, the LGUs must begin the distribution within the next 15 days if cash or 30 days if in kind.

The DSWD clarified that the cash assistance is only P1,000 per person and each family may receive up to P4,000 or 4 members, regardless of the number of members in the family.

The agency stressed that they have already provided a list of beneficiaries to the LGUs which they may use as a reference as to who should be prioritized for the aid.

Dumlao also emphasized that the manner of distribution must be put in detail by the LGUs through an executive order.

DSWD Central Office closes for disinfection, decontamination on March 19

Marje Pelayo   •   March 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Central Office will hold a three-day office disinfection and decontamination from Friday (March 19) to Sunday (March 21).

This measure is to mitigate the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) among the office’s personnel and clients,

On the said dates, all DSWD central office staff will be on a work-from-home arrangement to pave the way for the massive disinfection of the compound.

Likewise, the Department announced that it will temporarily suspend operations of the DSWD Crisis Intervention Unit (CIU) on March 19 to ensure that clients seeking financial aid under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) Program will not be affected by the intensive workplace disinfection operation.

All clients who are scheduled to received their cash assistance on the said date will be processed on March 22 when regular operations of the Department resume.

After the three-day disinfection, DSWD personnel will adopt the work-from-home and skeleton work arrangements until further notice to prioritize the health and safety of the entire workforce and their families.


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