AS if it hasn’t brought enough misery to the survivors of typhoon Yolanda, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is again bungling on its job to rehabilitate communities hit by the monster storm.
This time, the foul up is on the release of the Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) to the typhoon victims. Not content with delaying the release of the ESA, the DSWD’s incompetence created confusion among the populace and caused discord between the LGUs and their constituents.
Take note that the ESA is a creation of the DSWD. It formulated the program guidelines. But it is the LGUs that are taking the brunt of the ESA’s defects.
Just like what happened in Bantayan Island, Cebu. DSWD’s guidelines disqualified families living in danger zones from the ESA. But being a small island, all of its inhabitants are residing on the coastline which is considered a no-build zone. The islanders have mounted rallies against Mayor Chris Escario for this injustice even if he had nothing to do with the guidelines.
The same is happening in Ormoc where Mayor Edward Codilla is taking the flak from the list of beneficiaries to the delay in the release of the ESA.
The ESA is riddled with defects not only in its guidelines but more so in data gathering when DSWD utilized the Disaster Assistance and Family Access Card (Dafac) to determine the beneficiaries. Why use a form utilized for the distribution of relief aid on a program meant only for the poorest of the poor?
Why use a form utilized for the distribution of relief aid on a program meant only for the poorest of the poor? Naturally, the master list included the names of well-off personalities even if the ESA guidelines limits the beneficiaries to families with monthly income less than P15,000.
But the damage has been done, and Mayor Codilla along with the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) are being crucified for it even if they are not at fault. CSWDO merely followed DSWD’s instruction to submit all accomplished Dafac forms to the regional office by Sept. 15, 2014.
More than a month later on Nov. 21, DSWD issued 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.
The guidelines outlines the qualifications for availing ESA such as the maximum income of less than P15,000, as well as the exemption of families living in danger zones and those who have benefited from housing projects from either the government agencies or non-government organizations.
By then however, the Ormoc CSWDO has submitted the DAFAC forms which DSWD used as basis in coming up with the controversial master list. Which begs the question,why did it take long for DSWD to release the revised guidelines? How will it make up for the chaos and confusion it caused to LGUs and their constituents?
If the DSWD’s objective is to identify the poorest of the poor, it could have simply accessed the Barangay Management Information System (BMIS) which is already in place.
DSWD could have spared the LGUs of trouble if it just utilized the BMIS of which the government spent hundreds of millions to develop to aid programs like the ESA.
(This above is the Editorial of West Leyte Weekly Express issue of April 13-19, 2015 )