KALIBO, Aklan – Sixteen months after wrath of Yolanda devastated the entire province, the people of Aklan from all walks of life again consolidate their ranks this time not to fight against devastation from natural calamity but to fight for the scrapping of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Memorandum Circular No. 24 (MC24) issued by Secretary Dinky Soliman as they called it inhumane, unjust and prejudiced circular created out of context.
The #SCRAP MC24 MOVEMENT was launched last March 19. It was participated by various Local Government Executives (LGE), Kalibo Diocesan Social Action Center (DSAC-KALIBO), Federation of Kalibo Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association (FOKTODAI), progressive organizations led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-Aklan) and typhoon Yolanda survivors’ organization RISE UP AKLAN.
The movement vowed to take all forms of action from the local level combining people’s movement and legislations to press for the immediate rescind of MC 24 as this circular placed the affected communities in chaotic situation.
DSWD MC24 was issued by Soliman to guide the implementation of the long delayed Emergency Shelter Assistance Program (ESAP) and to regulate selection of beneficiaries for the said program. In ESAP victims whose shelter were totally damaged are entitled to receive P30,000.00 and P10,000.00 to those whose shelter were partially damaged.
In a manifesto signed by the movement convenors Atty. Ariel Igoy, Mayor of Malinao, Hon. Erlinda Maming, Mayor of Banga, Hon. James Solanoy, Mayor of Nabas, Hon. Edgar Peralta, Mayor of New Washington, Rev. Fr. Ulysses Dalida, Director Diocesan Social Action Center and many others, the group called for President Benigno Aquino to take immediate action to rescind the implementation of MC 24 as this is unjust and autocratic directive and to immediately release substantial budget for each municipality.
The group as quoted in their manifesto said that the national government is directly accountable for the current chaotic situation happening in Aklan, and thus a national movement is a great need to scrap MC 24.
“If the proper authorities would strictly follow the stipulations in MC 24, no one would be qualified to receive certificate of eligibility as a requirement to become one of the ESAP beneficiaries. As stipulated in MC 24, victims who are living in danger zones, those who received assistance from other private organizations working for Yolanda survivors’ rehabilitation, those who received P15,000.00 monthly earnings were disqualified to receive assistance,” expressed George Calaor, chairperson of BAYAN Aklan.
Calaor further said MC 24 autocratically disqualified teachers, OFWs, professionals, government employees, victims whose earnings are more than P15,000.00 and those who had received shelter assistance from NGOs and since then had enraged these sectors without considering the context of the devastation.
On the current chaotic situation, the group believes that there’s no other option left but to scrap MC 24 and to provide assistance to all victims of typhoon Yolanda without prejudice and free from discrimination.
Kim-Sin Tugna, Coordinator of the #SCRAP MC 24 Movement said in an interview that should this MC 24 would not be rescinded, it would destroy the true essence of resiliency – which is the strong and harmonious relations in the populace, who are culturally extending mutual support to one another in time of adversities in life.
“Since the implementation of ESAP guided by MC 24, every day, our local organization has been meddling in the conflicts arising from ESAP distribution. This is worse as compared to the day after Yolanda, where everyone is helping one another to cope the devastation,” said Tugna.
Tugna reiterated their call to all victims of Yolanda to continue to organize, to keep abreast with the current situation and to strengthen support to one another so as to achieve total resiliency and recovery.
“We are very appreciative with the concerns of various sectors over ill effects of the DSWD #MC 24. But we alone are not sufficient. We need support of every concerned individuals. Thus, we are encouraging all victims to come out and speak, all concerned individuals to support the peoples’ cause until we finally break government’s indifference on our economic and social condition,” Tugna ended./