Davide urges DSWD to reconsider shelter aid rules
Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) should heed the appeal of mayors to reconsider their guidelines on shelter assistance to families displaced by supertyphoon Yolanda in northern Cebu.
“I hope they will really look into this and try to understand the plight of the affected towns,” the governor said in last Friday’s press conference.
The P1.9-billion cash aid for typhoon survivors in Cebu who have repaired their houses which are not located in designated danger zones was released earlier this week.
Families whose houses were damaged by the typhoon will get P10,000 while those whose houses were destroyed will receive P30,000 each.
However, a new provision in the DSWD omnibus guidelines for the distribution of the aid stated that those who earn P15,000 above are ineligible to receive the assistance.
The provision caused some northern Cebu mayors, including Sta. Fe Mayor Jose Esgana and Bantayan Mayor Ian Christopher Escario, to decide not to claim their checks in the meantime.
Davide said the affected towns and city started identifying families whose houses were destroyed by Yolanda in December 2013.
“The list of beneficiaries was submitted a long time ago. In fact, these are the same beneficiaries the affected local government units submitted to the province, part of which became the basis of what we asked from the national government for the rehabilitation plan,” he said.
Davide said the barangays and towns took pains in identifying beneficiaries, only to be told by DSWD that some of them are ineligible.
“These new guidelines are just disheartening and would cause a lot of confusion,” he said.
Mayors Esgana and Escario said in separate press conferences earlier this week that they refused to claim their checks due to the “unfairness” of the guidelines.
Both mayors said they would rather delay claiming the cash aid than hear complaints from those who made it to the list but were suddenly excluded due to the new provision.
Escario said he fears getting charged with plunder by the Commission on Audit (COA) if he distributes a portion of the town’s P375-million cash aid to those DSWD deemed unqualified.
But Daanbantayan Mayor Augusto Corro said the money should be given to the beneficiaries regardless of the guidelines.
“This is how I see it—it is better to have given to a few than not giving anything to anybody at all,” he told reporters during a visit to the Capitol last Friday.
Last Feb. 4, Corro personally picked up the town’s check for P425 million.
The mayor said he is confident he won’t be criticized for distributing it to all affected constituents because he made sure nobody in the town’s list had an income of P15,000 above.
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