By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has received transportation and communication equipment from the Japanese government as a non-project grant aid to boost the agency’s disaster response efforts.
“It is with gratitude that I receive, on behalf of the Filipino people, the grant graciously provided by Japan in the form of vehicles and communication equipment which are intended to help the Department of Social Welfare and Development effectively and immediately dispense the needed assistance to disaster-stricken communities and families,” DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista said.
The assistance, the first of two batches, consisted of seven units of wing vans, 20 units of ultra-high frequency (UHF) land-based emergency radio system, a set of UHF repeater, and a set of high frequency transceiver.
The second batch, consisting of six units of wing vans, will be delivered to DSWD before the end of May.
“Rest assured that the vehicles and the equipment will be immediately distributed to our regional offices which need them the most, so that the delivery of relief services will no longer be hampered by the lack of transportation,” Bautista said.
“The communication equipment we now have in our possession will contribute to widening our reach in terms of sending messages for help and assistance, especially in hard-to-reach communities,” he added.
The project is part of the ¥500 million grant extended by Japan to the Philippines in 2015 for the purchase of equipment for disaster risk management, disaster response, and disaster restoration.
DSWD identified the purchase of wing vans and communication equipment to be funded by the grant due to the logistical limitation of DSWD field offices to deliver relief goods to disaster-affected population in times of calamities.
The agency submitted its proposal for the purchase of the vehicles and equipment to the Japan’s International Cooperation System, the entity commissioned by the Government of Japan to conduct the procurement of the vehicles and equipment.
The wing vans and communication equipment will be released to DSWD field offices and disaster response centers nationwide to aid them in their disaster response and relief operations.
Minister and Consul General Atsushi Kuwabara of the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines, who represented the Japan government during the turnover, expressed hope that the assistance will help the Philippines respond quickly during disasters.
“In times of disasters, it is very important to respond very quickly. That is what we know from our experience because Japan is also a disaster-prone country. So, I hope this assistance will help in providing quick response all around the Philippines,” he said.