ILOILO City – Farmers and activists, headed by Paghugpong sang mga Mangunguma sa Panay kag Guimaras (PAMANGGAS), hold the first of its 4-day camp-out today, February 16, in front of the DSWD Regional Office 6 here in Iloilo City.
The farmers are demanding the scrapping of DSWD Memorandum Circular No. 24 Series of 2014 or the Guidelines for the Implementation of Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) Project for Families with Partially and Totally Damaged Houses Due to Typhoon Yolanda, and for the unconditional release of the said funds to all typhoon Yolanda victims.
“We gather here today to demand this office to abolish its Memo No. 24 and for the immediate and unconditional release of the shelter assitance to all victims,” said Jessica Emperwa, spokesperson of PAMANGGAS.
According to PAMANGGAS, DSWD Memorandum Circular No. 24 disenfranchises many typhoon Yolanda victims especially those who are living within the 40-meter danger zone and those households with monthly income of Php 15,000 per month or more. Those living by the seashore who’s representing the bulk of those who were greatly affected and mostly government employees who were in debt will not be eligible to receive the ESA.
“The move of the DSWD in issuing the memorandum is discriminatory, malicious and an insult to all victims of typhoon Yolanda. International agencies poured financial assistance to help the victims unconditionally but why is this government choosing who to help? This a clear sign that this government is not sincere in helping the typhoon victims,” added Emperwa.
Under the ESA, individual beneficiaries whose houses were partially damaged will receive an amount of Php10,000 and Php30,000 for beneficiaries whose houses were totally damaged.
But according to PAMANGGAS, individual beneficiaries have to go through the eye of the needle before they can avail of the assistance referring to documentary requirements needed by individual beneficiaries to pass before they can avail of assistance.
“The rigorous process imposed by DSWD is a double kill for the victims of the typhoon,” added Emperwa.
The group also questioned where all the billions of pesos of money allocated to victims of typhoon Yolanda go.
PAMANGGAS noted that last 2013, the Congress allocated Php14.6 billion for Post-Yolanda recovery and Php160 billion for assistance to victims whose houses were destroyed. Panay island only needed Php9 billion to help the victims in the island.
“With all the aids and help that pour from international agencies and government funds allocated to help the victims of typhoon, only a small portion of it went to the victims. And now they released a small amount accompanied by the memorandum of DSWD that show that the government is much interested on how it will fill its pockets rather than helping the victims of the typhoon,” added Emperwa.
“We are calling for the ouster of Noynoy Aquino for its gross and criminal negligence of the plight of the typhoon Yolanda victims. We are also calling for the resignation of Dinky Soliman. We will continue to march until Aquino and Soliman are no longer in power,” ended Emperwa./