Cayetano: Augment 4Ps to cover disaster survivors

A LAWMAKER wants the government to expand the use of existing programs like the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) as a means to extend immediate assistance for families who lost properties and livelihoods because of disasters.

Sen.  Alan Peter Cayetano said that disaster-stricken families should be enrolled into the 4Ps in times of disasters to help them recover from calamities.

The senator made the statement in the aftermath of the 7-magnitude  earthquake that struck Northern Luzon on July 27, which claimed at least five lives and injured many others. The tremor also caused damages estimated at P33.8 billion.

Earlier this month, Cayetano filed Senate Bill 302, or the “4Ps for Disaster Victims Act,” which proposes a three-step assistance scheme for disaster victims centered around the antipoverty cash-disbursement program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The proposed law requires the DSWD to extend immediate financial aid to disaster survivors, then assess affected individuals within 15 to 30 days of the calamity for enrollment into the 4Ps.

Individuals who were not rendered poor by a disaster will be under the 4Ps for a year, while individuals weighed down financially by a calamity are entitled to a longer period of assistance.

Floating hospitals

THE senator also mentioned the need to address the lack of access to proper health care during widespread calamities, such as in the aftermath of previous supertyphoons that damaged hospitals, as well as crippled power and communication infrastructure.

“We need to be able to treat the injured and provide immediate medical care [notwithstanding the extent of the disaster]. That’s why we’re calling for ‘floating hospitals that could be deployed anywhere in the Philippines],” he said.

Included among Cayetano’s 20 priority bills, Senate Bill 305 or the “Floating Hospitals Act” seeks to establish at least three mobile facilities of such kind—one each under the command of the Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard, and the Philippine National Police-Maritime Group.

Said floating hospitals will provide primary- up to tertiary-level medical services, and will be deployed to areas severely affected by disasters. They may also be prepositioned in the event of disasters like typhoons which can be foreseen.

Since the Department of Disaster Resilience has been among his proposed agenda, the lawmaker wants to beef up the government’s capacity to support affected families “in a sustained manner, and get medical help where it’s needed” in similar situations.