ASSISTANCE. Families displaced by Tropical Storm Agaton in Banate town, Iloilo province receive assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development at the municipal gymnasium on Wednesday (June 7, 2023). The Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations held a series of payouts this week for 6,999 families affected by the tropical cyclone last year. (PNA photo by PGLena)

ILOILO CITY –  A total of 6,999 families displaced by Tropical Storm Agaton in the municipality of Banate in Iloilo province last year were recipients of over PHP21 million under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Beverly Salazar, head of the DSWD crisis intervention unit, said nine recipients whose houses were destroyed received PHP45,000 while PHP20.97 million were distributed among 6,990 families whose houses were partially damaged.

“They were displaced families, affected by the typhoon as declared by the LGU (local government unit). It was a one-time assistance,” she said in an interview on Friday.

Banate Mayor Peter Paul Gonzales, in his message during the distribution, said Agaton's heavy rainfall submerged the municipality.

“In Banate alone it has heavily flooded Libertad, as well as Carmelo and Poblacion, and damaged crops estimated at millions. The unpredictable weather patterns brought about by climate change have negatively impacted our way of life,” he said.

However, he said with their vigilant local disaster risk reduction and management and in coordination with barangay functionaries, they evacuated residents living in critical areas averting the loss of human lives.

Senator Christopher Go has filed the Mandatory Evacuation Centers Act since the country is vulnerable to typhoons and other disasters.

The bill highlights the importance of establishing clean, permanent, and safe evacuation centers nationwide for calamity victims to be comfortable while they are recovering from disasters. (PNA)