NAVAL, Biliran — The local government here has extended the distribution of emergency shelter assistance (ESA), as it resolves mounting complaints from beneficiaries.
The municipal social welfare development office (MSWDO) reported that the town government is almost done giving out the P54 million cash from the National Government to about 2,500 families.
As of September 10, the local government has released funds to beneficiaries in 25 out of 26 villages, but the payout was not completely done in other areas due to inconsistent rules imposed by village officials.
“Some of them were not informed by their village officials about the deadline. I have to explain to them and listened to them one by one. We want to find out if there are really inconsistencies,” said Mayor Susan Parilla.
Parilla is optimistic to resolve all issues and complete the distribution before the September 20 extended deadline set by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
“We really want to eliminate the ‘padrino’ (favoritism) system in the distribution and follow a single guideline from the DSWD,” she said.
Thousands of beneficiaries trooped to the town hall grounds to receive payouts and relay complaints to local government even after the September 10 original deadline.
Aside from “padrino” system, another common complaint is the listing discrepancies between the documents kept by village officials and the local DSWD office.
“They say we can’t avail the aid because we are part of the no build zone, but how come our neighbors are able to receive one? This is very unfair,” said Jolito Cohedo, 55, a resident of Sto. Nino village.
The government doesn’t count those family dwelling in no build zones as ESA recipients since the National Housing Authority (NHA) will build permanent houses for them.
The NHA will build more than 2,000 houses for most vulnerable families, according to Parilla.
Officials advised typhoon survivors to follow the regulations for the distribution of shelter aid is only based on the list.
Naval is one of the four towns in Eastern Visayas with ongoing distribution beyond the September 10 deadline set by the DSWD. The town just kicked off the distribution on September 9.
“It took us weeks to complete the process because the guidelines from the national government are sometimes inconsistent. My instruction to local officials was to be careful and follow the guidelines. We made sure that village officials should not influence as to who will receive the benefits,” Parilla added.
Naval, the capital town of Biliran province is one of the areas devastated by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) Last November 2013. (PNA)