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DSWD receives P104 million support from Australia to boost disaster response capacity

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines Government and the Australian Government have partnered to strengthen the capacity of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in responding to natural disasters and emergencies, through a P104 million (A$3 million) grant under a three-year Support Program for Disaster Response. The program covers three components: capacity building, warehouse construction, and prepositioning of emergency relief supplies.
“The Australian Government is committed to support the Philippines in building its resilience through disaster preparedness, and stands ready to support the Philippines and the Filipino people in times of disasters and emergencies,” Ambassador Bill Tweddell said during the program’s launch on December 3 at the National Resource Operations Center (NROC), DSWD’s main disaster hub located in Pasay City.
DSWD is the Vice-Chair for Response of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), and lead agency of the Food and Non-Food Cluster, Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster, and Protection Cluster under the humanitarian cluster system of the Council.
Under the program, Australia is supporting the upgrade of NROC and the construction of a new warehouse. After its completion, the facility’s storage capacity will increase from 200,000 to 270,000 packaged and unpackaged family food packs and will provide safe storage for additional vital non-food items such as blankets, cooking implements, and mosquito nets, among others.
The groundbreaking ceremony of the new warehouse was led by Ambassador Tweddell and DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman.
The program also supports the prepositioning of emergency relief supplies such as tents, laminated sacks, family kits, and children’s toys. This complements DSWD’s standby emergency relief supplies and will be prepositioned in the different regional offices of DSWD and at NROC. Close to 400,000 individuals, or 78,000 families including 36,000 children, will benefit from these humanitarian relief items.
“This partnership between Australia and DSWD is very timely and appropriate as we prepare to respond to the new normal of having stronger typhoons, long spells of droughts, and earthquakes. I am grateful to the Australian Government for this long-standing engagement which started in social protection and now includes collaboration in ensuring preparedness in responding to the needs of disaster-affected populations and communities,” Secretary Soliman said.
Australia also deployed an Australian Civilian Corps Adviser on Disaster Response Systems to assist in capacity building and strengthening the disaster response framework and strategies of DSWD.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.