With the goal to continuously serve families in need in Northern Luzon, and to strengthen partnership, the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office Cordillera, 1, 2, and 3 conducted a courtesy visit and executive session to the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) on March 4, 2022 in Tarlac City. 

In their juncture in Camp Servillano Aquino, San Miguel, Tarlac City NOLCOM Commander LTGEN Ernesto Torres Jr. extended his appreciation to the DSWD delegates as well as the different commanders of the Philippine Armed Forces in Ilocos Region, Cordillera, Cagayan Valley, and Central Luzon as they came together to affirm AFP’s commitment of being a vital partner in the delivery of social services during crisis and disasters.

DSWD Field Office (FO) Regional Directors DSWD FOCAR Director Arnel B. Garcia, CESO II, DSWD FO I Director Marie Angela S. Gopalan, CESO III, DSWD FO 2 Director Cezario Joel C. Espejo and DSWD FO 3 Director Marites M. Maristela, CESO III joined the activity. 

Apart from the presentation of Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) of DSWD Field Office 3 with Northern Luzon Command on Warehouse Management, DSWD FOCAR Regional Director Garcia also presented the One Luzon Initiative on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM). 

“This is the first time that we have personally met our partners from the Northern Luzon Command as DSWD Luzon stronghold and we are now pioneering a mechanism for a concerted Disaster Response and Early Recovery. Our Inter-Regional Operationability is our innovation in harnessing all our efforts and resources to delivering efficient Disaster response thus, raising the bar of performance on disaster response,” Director Garcia said. 

He also added that the concept was adopted by the Cordillera Regional DRRM Council and now being expanded to its neighboring regions to have cohesive operations during emergencies. 

DSWD FO 2 Regional Director Espejo also emphasized the presence of AFP as vital in disaster operations adding that the Philippine Army has been open in forging partnership with DSWD FOs when it comes to prepositioning of food and non-food items and in responding to disaster operations. 

DSWD FO 3 Regional Director Maristela capped the activity with the gratitude on the two areas of collaboration of DSWD and NOLCOM which is on Disaster Response and Sustainable Intervention for the Half House Program with LTGEN Torres Jr. parting vision towards Matatag, Maginhawa at Panatag na Pamumuhay sa Bawat Pilipino.

LTGEN Torres Jr. further proposed to develop a mother agreement to forge all the commitment of each member agency to this initiative which all agreed needing fewer social preparations in a swift process.  

Due to the country’s unique geographical location and its high-risk profile wherein three active volcanoes are located in Luzon namely: Mt. Pinatubo, Taal Volcano, and Mayon Volcano and the presence of active fault line makes the regions vulnerable to earthquakes. Aside from earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, the Philippines is also vulnerable to landslides, flashfloods and typhoons with an average of 20 typhoons in a year. # DSWD FIELD OFFICE CAR, SOCIAL MARKETING UNIT, LAUREN ALIMONDO with reporting from Ms. ANGELA M. OCAWE

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