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Gov’t launches convergence aid effort ‘AHON’ in Siargao

By Philippine News Agency

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar (3rd from right) joins the launch of the Aid and Humanitarian Operations Nationwide (AHON) Convergence Program in the town of San Benito, Surigao del Norte on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. (Photo courtesy of PCOO OSEC)

GENERAL LUNA, Surigao del Norte – National government agencies gathered here from June 9-11, 2021, to bring social services closer to the people, as part of the response to assist families affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and provide updates for other local projects to aid communities.

The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) led the series of ceremonial launches for the Aid and Humanitarian Operations Nationwide (AHON) Convergence Program through the distribution of DSWD’s Livelihood Assistance Grant (LAG) and Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) to identified individuals.

The AHON Convergence Program is an interagency initiative to pour necessary aid to the most affected communities in times of calamities and emergencies, including the pandemic.

This is pursuant to Executive Order No. 137 signed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on May 24, 2021, which accelerates and harmonizes aid and humanitarian operations of the national government during disasters and emergencies.

The convergence program kicked off in the town of San Benito, followed by Sta. Monica, Burgos, and General Luna in Surigao del Norte.

The national government distributed livelihood grants worth a total of PHP1.5 million to 109 beneficiaries in San Benito on June 9; PHP1.5 million to 148 beneficiaries in Sta. Monica on June 10; and PHP2.25 million to 169 beneficiaries on June 11.

The DSWD also distributed financial assistance worth PHP300,000 to 100 residents in Burgos on June 11, under the AICS.

Aside from financial assistance from the DSWD, the PCOO also turned over personal protective equipment (PPE) sets and Laging Handa information, education, and communications (IEC) materials about the national Covid-19 vaccination program, to the local government units (LGUs) to support to their respective Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs), who are the first responders to the pandemic.

“Inin mga hinabang diri karun nga ipanghatag sa ijo ang magpamatood nga ang ijo gobyerno – ang administrasyon ni Presidente Rodrigo Duterte – padajon sa paghatod sa serbisyo publiko nga tinud-anay nga malasakit sa katawhan. Segun kini sa giingon ni Presidente Rodrigo Duterte nga bringing the government closer to the people (This assistance that will be given to you today is proof that your government – the Duterte administration – continues to deliver a public service with genuine concern for the people. This is in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s marching order of bringing the government closer to the people),” PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar said.

The PCOO chief also said through the AHON convergence program, LGUs will have better access to the programs of the government in times of crisis.

DSWD Assistant Secretary Victor Neri, meanwhile, urged the beneficiaries to use the grant wisely and assured them that the national government is ready to respond to the needs of all Filipinos.

“'Yan po ay isang batas ng Presidente. Ibig sabihin lang po na kapag mayroong kalamidad at nangangailangan po kayo, ay darating po kaming lahat po, kaming mga ahensya, sabay-sabay sa inyo. Kami po ang bababa sa inyo (This is the order of our President. It means that in times of calamities and in times of need, we will be here to help, all the agencies will converge to help),” Neri said.

Baha, lindol, sunog, pagputok ng bulkan, kalamidad, kahirapan, livelihood, health, entrepreneurship, habang nandyan po ang Presidente nakaupo sa Malacañan- ay tuloy-tuloy lang po ang ating mga programa (Floods, earthquakes, fires, volcanic eruptions, calamities, poverty, health, businesses, while the President is there in Malacañan, our programs will continue),” he added.

Other agencies in the AHON Convergence Program include the Department of Health, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Trade and Industry, Technical Education Skills Development Authority, Department of Agriculture, the Department of Information and Communications Technology, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, and the Office of the Special Assistant to the President.

Local chief executives of the benefitting town expressed their gratitude for the response of the national government in augmenting their efforts to provide for their constituents.

“Thank you very much, President Duterte for bringing these assistance to the people of General Luna. We can now request for aid with immediate response from the national government through this AHON program,” General Luna Mayor Cecilia Rusillon said. (PR)

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