Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has directed the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to set up checkpoints in quake-affected areas in Mindanao to properly record the arrival of relief goods and workers.
This was his response when asked on what are his steps to stabilize the situation in the affected areas after he was named head of all government relief operations in Davao Del Sur and North Cotabato Saturday.
“I have also issued a directive for the putting up of checkpoints at all entry points to the disaster areas so that we can record all relief goods and relief workers going in,” he said in a message to the Philippine News Agency.
The checkpoints, he said, will also ensure that only legitimate and authorized relief workers are granted access to evacuation centers and receive relief goods and supplies for distribution to the evacuees.
“The checkpoints will also screen those kibitzers or ‘usiseros’,” he added.
Lorenzana has instructed relevant authorities on the proper management of evacuation centers so that there will be order.
He added that this instruction was in the wake of reports that some people are rushing the relief vehicles and getting anything they can.
“I have also directed the military to remove the people from the highways begging and blocking vehicles bringing relief goods and bring them to their communities so they can be properly attended to,” Lorenzana added.
Relief organizations can leave their donations to troops for distribution to the affected families or if they want to do it themselves, military units can direct them to areas needing their assistance, he added.
The AFP, especially the Army, has already deployed a task force in Kidapawan, Cotabato coordinating the military’s operation with ongoing government relief operations.
“I have also directed an engineering contingent to proceed to the area to help in rescue & recovery (operations),” he said, adding that the entire National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council is already in Kidapawan and starting operations already.
“For the other needed supplies such as water containers some donors are currently procuring them here in Manila and will be transported to Davao together with other supplies in a couple of days. All our efforts are in coordination with the Acting Provincial Governor who has taken charge of the whole relief operation. There is sufficient relief goods available. It’s just a matter of properly distributing them,” Lorenzana said. (PNA)