SYNCHRONIZED EFFORTS: DHSUD Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario convenes the National Shelter Cluster for the government’s continuing response to Typhoon Odette’s havoc via video conference on Tuesday.
The housing czar bats for synchronized efforts and prioritization in assisting families whose shelters were either damaged or destroyed by the typhoon. (DHSUD)

QUEZON CITY – Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) Secretary Eduardo del Rosario on Tuesday convened the National Shelter Cluster for the government’s continuing response to Typhoon Odette to synchronize all shelter assistance for the victims.

In a video conference, Secretary Del Rosario met with representatives of the cluster member-agencies, led by Secretary Isidro Lapena of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) Administrator Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, National Housing Authority (NHA) General Manager Marcelino Escalada Jr. Also in attendance were representatives from the DSWD, DENR, DPWH and DBM.

“What is important now is for us to provide immediate and continuous assistance to those whose houses were totally destroyed,” Secretary Del Rosario stressed.

“To ensure that we maximize available government resources, we need to synchronize all our efforts,” he added.

Latest reports from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) showed that a total of 1,360,447 houses were either partially (991,971) or totally (368,476) damaged by Typhoon Odette which wreaked havoc in Regions 4B, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Caraga and BARMM.

The DHSUD chief emphasized the need for the cluster member-agencies to finalize their budgetary requirements and seek approval from the Office of the President so that funds can be tapped soonest.

“Now is the time for us to make an assessment on where we are now and where we intend to go. We must know the situation on the ground and address budgetary needs in order to carry out our assistance programs. We must establish and determine doable timelines to achieve our objectives in compliance with the instructions of the President,” Secretary Del Rosario said.

So far, DHSUD, thru the NHA, has already distributed P487.5 million to 97,500 affected families–each receiving P5,000, from Regions 4B, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 13 under its Special Emergency Housing Assistance program.

DHSUD, in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration and USAID, also gave out 5,598 shelter-grade tarpaulins to LGUs in Cebu, Bohol, Southern Leyte and Region 13; additional 6,000 more this week in Region 13; 1,000 shelter repair kits (SRKs) composed of GI sheets, lumber, plywood, tarpaulins, nails and carpentry tools also in region 13 and Southern Leyte.

Eight-thousand more SRKs are now for procurement and intended for distribution in Southern Leyte, Dinagat Islands and Surigao del Norte.

Members of the National Shelter Cluster, particularly Secretary Lapena, Usec Jalad and GM Escalada, expressed full support to the Shelter Cluster headed by Secretary Del Rosario.

The cluster’s recommendation will be finalized in the coming days and would be presented before the NDRRMC for final approval. (30) — CVC