NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
The Provincial Government has allocated about P180 million for its Provincial Relief Assistance Program for its constituents in crisis here and offshore.
Provincial Development and Planning Officer Atty John Titus Vistal bared this to members of the Bohol Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases Strategic Communications Cluster in its recent virtual meeting last week.
The provincial planner and who was formerly loaned to the National Economic Development Authority said that under We Survive as One Bohol Program in parallel to the country’s We Heal as One, Bohol has put up measures to respond to its constituents in crisis.
On this, for those individuals and families in crisis due to the measures implemented to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID) and needing relief assistance, Bohol has its own Relief Assistance Package in the forms of Rice Relief, Food Vouchers, Community Milk Feeding program, Cash Assistance to Boholanos stranded Offshore and for the Returning Boholanos Program, Atty Vistal shared.
As to the Food Assistance Program, from 300,000 families who can get P10 kilos of Premium Rice, the allocated P150 million now gets to 337,220 families as implemented by the Office of the Provincial Social welfare and Development Office, Office of the Governor and the local government units.
Also provided is a Food Voucher Program set for 50 families for every one of the 111 coastal and island barangays in Bohol, the PPDO said.
The program aims to provide food vouchers to most affected families in 111 coastal and island barangays in the province to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 health crisis thru the Food from Trash Program or the conduct of coastal or community clean-up, Atty Vistal read in his shared presentation.
Here, as soon as a family collects 20 kilos of coastal trash, these can be exchanged for food vouchers which they can use to purchase food supplies as Bohol allocates P2,775,000.00 for this program as implemented by the Bohol Environment Management Office and the coastal LGUs.
For children who are among the COVID most vulnerable sectors, the provincial government has embarked on a P6,658,000 Bohol Community fresh-Milk Feeding program for the undernourished, pregnant women, preschoolers and front liners.
Here, undernourished children and pregnant women in Trinidad, Talibon, Sierra Bullones, and Carmen, as well as pre-schoolers in 17 towns, the Bohol COVID Medical Team, Police Force and the Quarantine Task Force in the frontlines estimated to reach 10,219, get fresh milk to bolster up their immune defenses as health authorities have confirmed the danger of COVID transmission in the communities.
For the initial 17 towns alone, the program as implemented by the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian, Provincial Heath Office, Educational Development Center, Provincial Nutrition Council and the Department of Education has already reached 7,570 beneficiaries, PPDO reports.
And in fortifying the immune systems of front-liners, the program has also distributed some 2,552 fresh milk bottles in 220ml and 330ml to quarantine teams across Bohol, he continued.
For offshore students and displaced Boholanos stranded in other provinces, Bohol has allotted cash assistance of P2,000 each, in a program coordinated by the Offshore Boholanos Coordinating Team (OBCT).
While Bohol estimated the beneficiaries to be about 7,500 Partners, the responding offshore Boholanos who intend to get the assistance reached 25,703 while the OBCT has trimmed down the number of qualified beneficiaries to 16,678.
Last July 14, about 10,383 beneficiaries have received their cash assistance, from the allocated P15,000,000, Bohol has already released P20, 978, 580.00 according to the PPDO, who along with the Provincial Treasurers Office and the Office of the Governor coordinated the program.
Lastly, for the Returning Boholanos Program which focuses on the returning Overseas Filipino Workers, locally stranded individuals, stranded students and displaced workers who were not able to return to Bohol because of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Bohol has allotted P50 million, Atty. Vistal reports that Bohol has facilitated the return of 7815 locally stranded individuals since March 23, and 2104 OFWs since April 24.
The Returning Boholanos Program is implemented by the Provincial Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Office, Office of the Governor, Bohol Employment Placement Office and the Provincial Health Office.