Catanduanes has become just one of two Bicol provinces to have its own satellite warehouse for the storage of Family Food Packs from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) intended for use during calamities.
This was stressed by DSWD Regional Director Norman Laurio during the inauguration of the P10-million facility owned by the provincial government last Friday afternoon (June 2, 2023).
In thanking Governor Joseph Cua for making possible the completion of the two-storey building that would accommodate DSWD program offices as well as relief goods, he said he feels how Catanduanes is isolated during calamities as he comes from the island of Masbate.
The DSWD Bicol chief disclosed that 3,000 FFPs arrived that morning on board trucks of the provincial government and DSWD-5, with another truck scheduled to bring more the following day.
The deliveries, he stressed, bring the food packs stored in the warehouse to more than 6,000.
Seven of the 11 municipalities have prepositioned packs of 500 each, with only the towns of San Andres, Bagamanoc, Viga and Panganiban without reserve FFPs, according to a separate DSWD report.
“We will see if the warehouse can accommodate 10,000 FFPs,” he said. “Walang magugutom sa Catanduanes pag may kalamidad.”
“The DSWD prioritizes the stockpiling or prepositioning of FFPs in island provinces,” RD Laurio added, noting that his home province of Masbate has only 2,000 food packs in stock.
Camarines Sur is the other Bicol province which provided a satellite warehouse for DSWD’s use.
DSWD program offices for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and Assistance to Individuals/Families in Crisis Situation (AICS) will soon be transferred to the facility.
In his message, Gov. Cua assured that his administration would allocate the needed funds for the lacking equipment in the warehouse, construction of which began last year.
Describing the inauguration as the answer to his dream of the province having its own warehouse, the chief executive said it would serve as a disaster response hub to ensure the sufficiency of food and non-food resources for augmentation to municipalities in Catanduanes.
He added that this would allow a speedier response and assistance would reach those in need at the right time and in the right manner, as the province embarks on a new chapter of cooperation with DSWD for a more resilient version of Catanduanes.
Also present during the event were Provincial Administrator Lemuel Surtida, Provincial SWD Officer Roselle Navar and DSWD regional officials including Social Welfare Officer II Andrea de Pano, who heads the Social Welfare and Development (SWAD) office in Catanduanes.