Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull MP, announced the gifting of P60 million (AUD1.5 million) worth of prepositioned relief supplies and associated funds to the Department of Social Welfare and Development during his visit to the National Resource Operations Centre in Pasay City on Nov. 13, 2017.
“We have helped the people of the Philippines with the war in Marawi, now we’re determined to help you win the peace, and that’s our commitment,” Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.
The prepositioned relief stores support the Philippines government’s response to humanitarian crises including the Marawi conflict. The supplies include tents, sleeping mats and blankets, mosquito nets, multi-purpose malong and children’s toys. These can support the immediate requirements of 160,000 people.
DSWD Officer-in-Charge Emmanuel Leyco said, “We welcome the Australian Government’s continued support. With Australia’s assistance DSWD has strengthened its disaster response by implementing more efficient systems—and reaching people in need more quickly. We look forward to our continued partnership, including as we support the rehabilitation of conflict-torn Marawi City.”
The relief stores are part of the P120 million (AUD3 million) grant the Australian Government provided for a three-year Support Program for Disaster Response, which included technical assistance from an Australian Civilian Corps adviser. The contribution was also used to construct a new warehouse in NROC, and assisted DSWD to set up systems for more effective responses to disasters and conflict.
Prepositioning relief items in-country means they can be quickly deployed to assist people affected by disasters and conflict. The Australian Government prepositions goods with DSWD, the Philippine Red Cross, the United Nations Population Fund and the World Food Programme.
Australia stands ready to support the Philippines in times of need. The Australian Government has contributed PHP3.37 billion (AUD84.32 million) since 2006 to support the Philippine Government’s response to disasters and conflict.
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III vows to improve the capabilities of government health facilities in the cities of Iligan and Marawi to make them exceed their levels prior to the crisis wrought by the recently concluded armed conflict.
“The DoH is doing its best efforts to continuously deliver essential health services and in particular, rehabilitate the health system in Marawi especially the damaged health delivery infrastructures.
"We have to make sure that effective health strategies are enforced to implement programs that have been planned to address the health needs of the people in the battle-scarred areas,” said Duque.
He visited Marawi and Iligan cities on November 10 to monitor the situation of evacuation centers in in line with the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to help in the rehabilitation measures for the people who were affected or displaced by the five-month-long siege.
He admitted though that it is hardly enough to restore the capabilities of these healthcare facilities to the way they were before the Marawi siege, because the unique circumstances and challenges faced by the affected people demand a proportionately greater response from the health sector.
“While the presence of displaced families at these evacuation centers provided the DoH with a valuable opportunity to provide healthcare services to many people who would, otherwise, not seek attention under normal conditions, we are now shifting our focus to building back better as we contribute to our nation’s efforts to rehabilitate Marawi,” he added.
However, he said that the DoH will continue to respond to health challenges in the conflict-stricken areas.
Duque said evacuation centers are physically assessed to ensure their adequacy to provide basic health services to the evacuees.
He also noted that TSeKap services are continually conducted to ensure the well-being of the people under the DoH care at these centers, and to amply provide medical supplies as part of the ongoing medical assistance.
Appropriate psychological intervention has been made available for both Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in evacuation centers and home-based IDPs so with the service providers.
According to the most recent data from the DOH-Health Emergency Management Bureau, there are 5,087 families or 22,193 persons who are currently staying in 76 evacuation centers, and another 17,855 families or 81,101 persons are in their own homes.
The Amai Pakpak Medical Center and Abdullah Hospital are functional 24/7 providing Emergency Room, Operating Room, Pharmacy, and Laboratory services.
There are ten serviceable Barangay Health Stations and outposts in Marawi City opened to the public.
Overall, a total of P 222,388,985.61 worth of logistics and funding assistance from the DoH Central Office, the DoH Regional Offices, and partner agencies was given to the hospitals and evacuation centers in the affected areas.