In this picture shows children affected by the earthquakes walk at the tent city in Kidapawan City. (Photo by Jeoffrey Maitem)

KORONADAL CITY — Evacuees in some areas of Central Mindanao displaced by last year’s earthquakes have returned to their respective homes, a senior government humanitarian agency official said Monday while assuring state assistance will still continue.

Cezario Joel Espejo, regional director of Department of Social Welfare and Development, reported around  153 families in Columbio, Sultan Kudarat; 175 families in Malungon, Sarangani; and 37 families of M’lang, North Cotabato were allowed to go home since their condition had improved since December 15 last year where a 6.9 earthquake struck hit Mindanao, leaving scores of fatalities. 

“Those residents whose houses declared to be severely or totally damaged will be provided with

shelters assistance.The agency will assess them if they qualify the Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) as part of the office program for Early Recovery,” Dir. Espejo said.

Under ESA, the DSWD is supposed to give out P30,000 each to families whose homes were destroyed by a disaster and P10,000 to those whose homes were damage

Dir. Espejo’s deputy, Bonifacio Selma, assistant regional director for operations, said the affected families were provided with family food packs and emergency financial assistance through Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS), a program that serves as a social safety net or a stop-gap measure to support the recovery of individuals and families suffering from unexpected life events or crisis. 

Central Mindanao that covers the provinces of Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, and Sarangani was among the worst affected by the series of earthquakes that ripped the Island since October last year. (JBM / DSWD)