Author: Niko Wieland

Typhoon vulnerable areas to benefit from DSWD-UNICEF anticipatory action agreement

Source(s): United Nations Children's Fund (Global Headquarters, New York)

A total of 22,000 households, including 42,239 children, in typhoon vulnerable municipalities will benefit from multi-purpose unconditional cash transfers as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) inked an agreement on June 14 under the United Nations (UN) Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for Anticipatory Action (AA) for predictable hazards.

This partnership is a product of the Philippine UN Humanitarian Country Team’s development of a framework that is fit-for-purpose, framed according to existing operational coordination mechanisms and response plans, and built on lessons learned and good practices from past typhoon preparedness and responses.

Under the CERF AA pilot, unconditional cash top up will be provided to around 22,000 Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries in the Provinces of Catanduanes (Municipalities of Baras, Bato, San Andres, and Virac) and Northern Samar (Municipalities of Catarman, Catubig, Gamay, Mondragon, San Roque), three days before the predicted landfall of a Category 4 typhoon, consistent with the principles of AA. The benefit level is Php1,000 per family -- calculated as 30% of children’s estimated minimum expenditure basket (MEB) for nutrition, education, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and child protection services. The cash assistance will be provided to 4Ps beneficiaries through the Land Bank of the Philippines, the government’s depository bank.

In addition to the top-up cash assistance, UNICEF will also test the provision of anticipatory multi-purpose cash transfers using existing national government social protection systems to mitigate the impact of disasters and generate evidence to contribute to DSWD policy development that strengthens national social protection systems for future humanitarian and disaster response.

UNICEF Philippines Deputy Representative Behzad Noubary underscored the importance and urgency of this partnership. By providing support before a disaster happens, CERF AA seeks to mitigate, and to a certain extent prevent, the impacts of typhoons on people’s homes and livelihoods, while building on government’s mandatory pre-emptive evacuation procedures that save lives.

“This is the first time that we will test the concept of anticipatory action through a shock responsive social protection model. Through this intervention, the most at-risk communities will have better financial resources to bounce back after a typhoon. Traditional disaster response, when complemented with anticipatory actions, can significantly reduce the impact of disasters and allow for a faster recovery,” he said.

For his part, DSWD Undersecretary Felicisimo Budiongan said reading from the message of Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista, “This Anticipatory Action Pilot Project is a good start to test the provision of anticipatory multi-purpose cash transfers using existing national government social protection systems specifically through the provision of top-up to Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries.”

“Also, this pilot project can generate evidence to improve the policies on strengthening the social protection systems within the department. Again, congratulations to all of you who took part in benchmarking the anticipatory action in government systems,” he concluded. 

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