Aid for quake victims must not be derailed

The government will ensure that aid for residents affected by the recent series of earthquakes in Mindanao will not be derailed, Malacañang on Sunday said.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo defended Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana following criticism that accreditation for relief groups and individuals would derail the distribution of relief goods to earthquake-stricken areas.

LORENZANA ON JOMA

Lorenzana, who has been tasked to lead all earthquake relief efforts, ordered the Philippine Army to set up checkpoints on roads leading to disaster areas “to ensure that there is order and only accredited and legitimate relief groups and individuals are allowed.”

relief operations
ASSISTANCE. Office of the Civil Defense in Region 11 (OCD 11) distributes temporary shelter tarps and shelter kits to displaced residents in Barangay Upper Bala, Magsaysay, Davao del Sur on Friday (Nov. 1, 2019). The said barangay was greatly affected by the 6.3, 6.6, and 6.5-magnitude earthquakes which hit the province recently. (Photo from OCD 11 Facebook Page)

“I think Sec. Lorenzana has only orderly process in mind but we’ll try to see what we can do,” Panelo said in a press briefing in the Impact Challenger in Nonthaburi, Thailand.

“I think what the Secretary wants is there should be order especially because he is the one accountable for the donations,” he added.

He, however, said that groups and individuals who want to provide relief goods for quake-affected residents should not be stopped.

“I suppose those who want to help, to donate, we should not stop them. There should be a procedure by which what Sec. Lorenzana would want can be achieved without derailing or preventing or stopping people who want to help in other countries,” Panelo said.

Panelo said that he did not see the logic of there being “illegitimate donors” since all donations were welcome.

Earlier, Lorenzana assured quake-affected residents that there is sufficient supply of relief goods amid difficulty in distributing them due to some areas being cut off by landslides.

The Defense chief said the quake caused a “humanitarian crisis” following reports of evacuees begging for food and water along the highway.

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Executive Director Ricardo Jalad, however, said that all residents will be given aid which are now being transported by Philippine Air Force cargo planes.

The Department of Social Welfare and Employment (DSWD) has provided over PHP6 million worth of assistance to nearly 30,000 families in quake-affected areas. (PNA)

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