Press Release
December 27, 2015


Two years after Supertyphoon Yolanda devastated Central Philippines, Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has apparently not learned its lessons on how to efficiently respond to the immediate needs of calamity victims.

Escudero said the DSWD continues to distribute uncooked rice and noodles and conventional canned goods to evacuees even if they are left without tools to cook such goods, when most of them are in need of food they can eat immediately.

"Up to now the DSWD is still doing that. Relief operation should be more relevant, should be more realistic and not simply for a show," Escudero said, referring to food packs distributed by the department to victims of recent calamities.

Aside from giving away food packs to evacuees, Escudero reiterated his call for the DSWD to set up "soup kitchens" in barangays to feed residents displaced by calamities.

He made the suggestion as early as 2013 when Yolanda left a trail of widespread destruction in Central Philippines.

The veteran lawmaker said they have been doing the same in his home province of Sorsogon for the past years.

"Kung talagang gusto nilang makatulong, tulad po sa aming probinsiya, kailangang magtayo ng mga 'soup kitchen' upang kagyat na matulungan yung mga nasalanta. Walang gamit yung mga tao, nawala nga ang bahay nila, paano nila isasaing ang bigas? Bukas ang mga 'soup kitchen' 24/7,'" said Escudero, the frontrunner in the vice-presidential race.

"Whoever is hungry can fall in line and eat. It goes on for about a week after the typhoon struck. That is more relevant help. That is more needed help. And then after that we immediately go to rehabilitation," the veteran lawmaker explained.

Escudero immediately flew to his home province of Sorsogon, one of the hardest hit by Typhoon Nona, on Dec. 17 to aid his kababayans following the devastation.

He said the efficient evacuation and relief efforts employed by the local government helped the Sorsoganons quickly get back on their feet.

"Two days after Nona hit, there's no one in the evacuation center anymore. Everybody went home to try to rebuild their lives and their houses. And that's how it should be done. It's how we like it to be done," Escudero said.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has reported that damage to agriculture and infrastructure reached a combined total of P4.9 billion from Typhoon Nona and tropical depression Onyok, as of Dec. 22.

At least 45 people were killed when the twin storms successively hit the country last week with Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, and Eastern Visayas suffering the most damage.

President Aquino declared a state of calamity last Dec. 18 to "hasten the rescue, recovery, relief and rehabilitation efforts of the government and the private sector, including any international humanitarian assistance."

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