October 22, 2016
The Catholic Church through its social action arm, the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines, has started utilizing its emergency funds called “Alay Kapwa” to support the on-going relief operations for the families affected by Super Typhoon Lawin (Haima) in Northern Luzon.
According to NASSA/Caritas Philippines Executive Secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez, at least P2 million was initially allocated to support the immediate needs such as food packs of the affected families in the most affected dioceses. Among these dioceses are those located in the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela and Benguet.
“We are expecting bigger needs in the next few days as we still wait for the data of the on-going rapid needs assessment of the Caritas network and other church groups in the affected dioceses,” Gariguez said.
The priest said that among the needs that were initially expressed by the affected dioceses to NASSA/Caritas Philippines are food items and sleeping kits in Cagayan, shelter repair kits in Isabela, and livelihood interventions in Benguet.
Based on the latest situation report of NASSA/Caritas Philippines, the national caritas will be finalizing deployment and response plans today with Caritas Espanola and Caritas luxembourg, and will start rapid assessment on Monday with CORDAID (Caritas Netherlands).
Gariguez added that Caritas Manila is ready to distribute relief goods to Tabuk, Kalinga and Apayao.
Through strong coordination with other humanitarian organizations, NASSA/Caritas also partnered with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) and SkyEye to provide aerial footages of the affected areas to help response actions.
Assessment teams from the Catholic Relief Services (Caritas USA) were also deployed earlier in Isabela.
“NASSA/Caritas Philippines is directing the overall coordination with the social action network of the dioceses, and international Caritas confederation,” he said.
The church’s local emergency funds called “Alay Kapwa” is the Lenten evangelization and fundraising program of the Church to raise consciousness and funds for calamities and major social concerns.
Through these local funds and support from Caritas Internationalis, NASSA/Caritas was able to implement various relief and rehabilitation programs to typhoon victims in the Philippines.
NASSA/Caritas Philippines is the development, advocacy and humanitarian arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
Aerial shot of damaged crops in Ilagan, Isabela. (Photo: NASSA/Caritas Philippines, SkyEye and UNOCHA-CoP)
April Ann Abello-Bulanadi