Thousand victims excluded from shelter assistance

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DELISTED & DISQUALIFIED: Kusog sang Pumuluyo, a Panay-wide alliance of typhoon Yolanda victims, submitted more than eight thousand names of victims who were either de-listed or disqualified for assistance due to the DSWD Memorandum Circular #24. (Photo by Karen Faith)

ILOILO City – Typhoon Yolanda victims under regional formation Kusog sang Pumuluyo trooped today to the regional office of the social welfare and development (DSWD) in Molo to formally submit the lists of beneficiaries under the Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) Project whose names were not included due to the “selective and discriminating” guidelines for the ESA.

More than eight thousand names, either delisted or disqualified, were submitted to the DSWD. March 31 is said to be the deadline set by the regional office for the submission of the lists of beneficiaries.

November 8, 2013 when super typhoon Yolanda ravaged the island of Panay, especially the central and northern part, and destroyed thousands of houses and livelihoods, and even claimed hundreds of lives.

One year after on November 2014, the national central office of social welfare released the Memorandum Circular No. 24 or the Guidelines for the Implementation of the Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) Project for Families with Partially and Totally Damaged Houses due to Typhoon Yolanda.

Under the ESA, families with totally damaged houses will receive Php30,000.00 each and Php10,000.00 for partially damaged houses.

But victims were dismayed to know that not everyone will be given the assistance.

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DISCRIMINATORY: Very Rev. Marco Sulayao, Kusog sang Pumuluyo spokesperson, echoes victims plea against the discriminatory and selective MC24. The ESA guidelines excluded from the list of beneficiaries those along the coastal areas, family heads earning Php15,000.00 and above and those regular employees of public and private institutions. (Photo by Karen Faith)

“The guideline is discriminatory and selective. It further victimizes the victims who have not yet fully recovered from the disaster. Every victim should be given its due assistance because the typhoon did not select its victims in the first place,” Kusog sang Pumuluyo spokesperson Very Rev. Fr. Marco Sulayo said.

The guidelines did not include as beneficiaries those along the coastal communities or those affected by the No-build/dwell zone policy, those within hazard-prone areas, families having monthly income of more than Php15,000.00 and/or whose heads are either employed in government or private institutions, and those who already have built or self-repaired their houses.

“Instead of limiting the victim-beneficiaries, the government should instead allocate sufficient amount to cover all victims regardless of their socio-economic status,” Sulayao added.

Victims from their respective provinces and municipalities converged in Zarraga town for a caravan going to the DSWD regional office.

Joining were victims from Aklan under Rise Up Aklan, Buylog Capiz of Capiz province, Task-Force Buliginay from Northern Iloilo, Bangon Katawhan of the indigenous peoples Tumandok (Panay-Bukidnon tribe) from Central Iloilo, and militant organizations under Bayan-Panay.

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NO NAMES FOR IPS: The list of eight thousand victims includes those of IP Tumandok from Tapaz and Calinog areas. Typhoon Yolanda destroyed about 80-90 per cent of IPs livelihoods – banana, coffee, and fruit-bearing trees. (Photo by Karen Faith)

“The people has suffered enough and this ESA guideline has been instrumental to press them deeper in their dire situation. This guidelines must be scrapped to end the sufferings of our people and immediately distribute the assistance fair, and square,” Bayan Panay chairperson Hope V. Hervilla said.

“We do not want this ESA to be another root of corruption as the 2016 elections is coming. The government through the DSWD must hasten the distribution, eliminate all requirements to include all typhoon-Yolanda victims and allocate additional funds to ensure that all victims are covered by this project,” Hervilla added.

“Sec. Dinky Soliman and President BS Aquino must be held accountable for more than 16 months of delayed justice to victims of typhoon-Yolanda,” she ended.

The group also called for the extension of the deadline for submission to accommodate more victims./ptlogo

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