By Leilani S. Junio
MANILA, Oct. 21 (PNA) The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) disclosed Monday that it has undertaken efforts for the protection of the vulnerable sectors affected by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake currently housed in the evacuation centers.
According to DSWD undersecretary Parisya H. Taradji, the elders, women, children and persons with disabilities (PWDs) that are at the core for protection by the department are being continuously monitored and provided with protection.
We had provided these vulnerable sectors with those facilities in the evacuation centers to ensure their safety and protection from any form of exploitation or abuse that might be inflicted on them, Undersecretary Taradji said in an interview with the Philippines News Agency.
Taradji added that since elders, women, children and PWDs are not strong enough to defend or guard themselves, the social workers, in coordination with other roving staffs help in securing them in the 96 evacuation centers.
Aside from providing them the friendly space where their immediate needs are provided, our relief assistance to them are also suited according to their needs. For example, we distributed hygiene kits that they can use, she explained.
She added that they set-up separate toilets for the vulnerable sectors to provide them comfort.
We understand the difficulty of sharing the common toilet for all, so we ensure that there are enough toilets designed especially for them (women, elders, children and PWDs) which they can solely use for privacy, she said.
Taradji ikewise said that continuous efforts on the distribution of relief assistance is being undertaken by DSWD, especially to the 'hard-to-reach' or isolated areas.
We have taken some steps to reach-out on them by merely walking just to bring the relief goods. The military also assist DSWD using helicopters to drop relief goods to isolated affected victims that cannot be reached by land due to collapsed bridges or impassable roads, she added.
She hailed the efforts and support of some government officials like Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretary Mar Roxas who recently joined DSWD secretary Corazon J. Soliman in the relief operations to the quake affected areas.
It is good to note that they (government officials) demonstrated special concerns to the quake victims. Their presence helped a lot in assuring them (quake victims) that the government is around to respond and take initiatives to enabled them to recover in times of disaster like this, Taradji stresed. (PNA)