TACLOBAN CITY-- At least 213 families from this city received on Wednesday the PHP5,000 financial assistance from the Office of the President to compensate those who were left out in the distribution of emergency shelter assistance (ESA).
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Assistant Secretary Hope Hervilla led the distribution of cash aid on Wednesday to occupants of some northern resettlement sites in the city.
"The financial assistance is unconditional and recipients can spend the money to meet their needs," Hervilla told reporters.
In the case of Benilda Amande, 60, she said she will use the money for the school expenses of her daughter Joan, who will graduate from a local university.
She said she was going to borrow money from a lending firm had she not received the financial assistance.
"This cash grant is really serving justice to people like us who were deprived of any financial assistance from the government after the super typhoon," said Amande, who lost her husband when the deadly typhoon struck in 2013.
Of the 1,841 listed by the group, People Surge, in this city, only 213 have qualified to receive the cash aid after a careful validation process.
Those qualified are super typhoon Yolanda survivors who were left out of the ESA grants and did not receive any housing assistance from the national government after the catastrophe.
The DSWD released PHP1.06 million on Wednesday, the first disbursement from the PHP1 billion fund set aside by President Rodrigo Duterte for Yolanda survivors. Recipients in this city are dwellers of housing projects built by non-government organizations.
People Surge listed 61,916 potential beneficiaries of the new financial aid in five provinces of the Eastern Visayas region, but according to Hervilla, only half may be qualified based on initial assessment.
"The timetable is to complete the distribution in three to six months since it takes more time to validate. We have to assess those in the list, one by one, if they are really qualified," Hervilla added.
Adding up to the slow pace of assessment is the lack of manpower, considering that the special funds from the Office of the President don't have allocations for operational costs.
This prompted the DSWD to tap their staff to do the additional task of validating thousands of potential beneficiaries.
On Nov. 8 last year, President Duterte announced the distribution of PHP5,000 in cash to selected Yolanda survivors.
DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo earlier explained that beneficiaries are "people who have worked in the past three years to claim what is rightfully theirs".
Between 2013 and 2015, the government had distributed PHP30,000 ESA for families whose houses were destroyed and PHP10,000 for those whose houses were partially damaged.(PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency