Low-income families, owners of destroyed houses to get priority in post-Odette cash aid distribution, DSWD 7 says

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LOW-income families and owners of houses destroyed by Typhoon Odette (Rai) will be prioritized in the distribution of the P5,000 financial assistance from the national government as promised by President Rodrigo Duterte.

This was what Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 7 Assistant Director Shalaine Marie Lucero told mayors during a meeting at the Cebu Provincial Capitol in Cebu City on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022.

Lucero said they were shocked when they received the instruction from the Office of the President to give the cash aid to all affected families since the DSWD 7 does not have enough budget to hand out aid to over 975,000 affected families in Central Visayas.

Lucero said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has already downloaded a portion of the budget to municipalities and component cities in Cebu. The assistance is intended for low-income families only.

Guideline request

Talisay Mayor Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas Jr. urged the DSWD 7 to release official guidelines since there are already a lot of people hoping to receive the cash aid promised by President Duterte.

Gullas said the DBM had only downloaded P20 million for Talisay City. The amount can only cover 4,000 out of around 90,000 families in the city.

“This is a position that is very difficult for all mayors because you are putting us in a position to tell our constituents ‘You are not affected; ikaw ra ang affected (you are the only one affected). Ikaw ra ang makadawat (You will be the only one to receive the aid),’” said Gullas.

Liloan Mayor Christina Frasco echoed the sentiment of Gullas and informed Lucero that they need the assistance from the DSWD to inform other national government agencies, especially the DBM, about the insufficiency of funds.

Frasco said their town received only P4 million, which can cover only 800 affected families.

Lucero told the mayors that she understood their predicament. But as an executive agency, the DSWD 7 is governed by the instructions from the Office of the President.

Lucero added that once the local government units (LGUs) can identify and start the distribution of the aid to low-income families, their office will now cater to the remaining typhoon-affected families.

From the Province

Meanwhile, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said the Province has set aside P2 billion.

The Province will distribute a card embedded with a QR code that will serve as a coupon, which will be presented to the Province’s partner merchants for the redemption of aid.

Garcia said the owners of destroyed houses will receive the card containing P5,000, which can be used to purchase construction materials such as GI sheets, cement fiber boards and grocery items.

The governor has yet to set the amount of the aid for the owners of damaged houses since local government units under Cebu Province are still sending their reports.

Garcia is hopeful that the distribution can start next week and it will be the barangay captains who will disseminate the information about the cash aid to their constituents.

15-day distribution

Liloan and Talisay City are among the 420 LGUs in at least 27 provinces that received the financial assistance from the national government.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday, Jan. 5, said the cash aid for individuals severely affected by Typhoon Odette has already been downloaded to the recipient LGUs for distribution.

In Central Visayas, 109 cities and municipalities were affected by the typhoon, with Negros Oriental getting P475 million and Cebu Province receiving P458 million in cash aid.

DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said in a press briefing Wednesday that the LGUs have already received the funds and they were given 15 days to finish the distribution of the cash aid.

He said the DILG and DSWD will monitor the distribution to ensure that the assistance is given to the typhoon-affected individuals.

Based on the Joint Memorandum 4, series of 2021 issued by the DILG, DSWD and Department of National Defense, the target beneficiaries are low-income families who were severely affected by Typhoon Odette.

Malaya said P1,000 will be given per individual, or a maximum of P5,000 per family.

He said the LGUs were ordered to post the list of beneficiaries on social media, or in conspicuous places in the barangay prior to the distribution, adding that the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines were directed to provide additional manpower to the LGUs whenever necessary.

Malaya added that the LGUs will also have to form a grievance and appeals committee that will act on all complaints that might be raised regarding the distribution of the cash aid.

In a briefing with the President on Tuesday night, Jan. 4, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said a total of P4.85 billion will be distributed to the typhoon-affected families. (with PNA)

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