Northern Cebu execs to DSWD: Modify typhoon aid guidelines
(The Freeman) - February 6, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Officials of typhoon Yolanda-affected localities in northern Cebu have been calling the Department of Social Welfare and Development to modify the shelter assistance guidelines before announcing the release of the funds.

Daanbantayan Vice Mayor Gilbert Arrabis, Jr. showed a copy of the municipal council resolution passed September last year requesting DSWD Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman to remove from the guidelines the household income ceiling of the beneficiaries and instead give the assistance to all affected families.

DSWD has set that only those families receiving a monthly income of less than P10,000 a month would be granted the emergency shelter assistance.

“As your servants, we have aired your grievances before the concerned government agency, the DSWD, but kutob ra g’yud ta sa paghangyo,” said Arrabis, stressing they have not yet received any reply from DSWD until now.

The issue became more complicated when DSWD announced the release of funds last week with corresponding changes in the guidelines raising the monthly income ceiling to P15,000 and not letting those living in unsafe zones avail of the ESA.

This made Bantayan Mayor Ian Christopher Escario hesitant in claiming the check worth P375 million intended for the town’s 17,650 households that were affected by the typhoon.

In a press conference yesterday, Escario said the ESA guideline is unfair and puts the mayors at risk.

He said around 60 percent of the total households can no longer avail of ESA if they have to follow the DSWD guidelines.

“Unsaon namo pagbalibad ang mga tawo? Unsa’y mahitabo sa ubang kwarta? Gusto mi nga mapasabot ang mga tawo. Let DSWD explain,” Escario said.

The mayor added that it is better if DSWD would be the one to distribute the amount just like what it has been doing in its Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

Last December, DSWD-7 director Mercedita Jabagat informed Escario of the P143 million initial amount for ESA.

Since the amount is not sufficient to fund the total number of affected households, Jabagat advised Escario to prioritize those who have not recovered and received assistance from any organizations.

In response, the mayor told Jabagat that they cannot accept the “insufficient” amount of funds as it can only cause chaos among his constituents and put the local government unit in a very compromising situation.

“On the ground level, this sort of careless action will only be perceived to be both arbitrary and discriminatory or, worse, heavily tinged with political color and partiality,” Escario said.  (FREEMAN)

 

 

BANTAYAN MAYOR IAN CHRISTOPHER ESCARIO DAANBANTAYAN VICE MAYOR GILBERT ARRABIS DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT DSWD ESCARIO JABAGAT LAST DECEMBER MERCEDITA JABAGAT PANTAWID PAMILYANG PILIPINO PROGRAM SECRETARY CORAZON
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