TACLOBAN CITY-Public school teachers who were hit by super typhoon Yolanda in Leyte province have urged for the final release of their housing assistance from President’s Social Fund, saying they have already waited long enough.

“I hope the money will be released the soonest possible time for our housing needs,” said Fidelino Josol, a school teacher in Palo, Leyte.

Josol said they received the first tranche–which was only half of their supposed housing aid–sometime in September 2015, although the liquidation report they were asked to submit showed full amount allocated to them.

“More than two years after Yolanda came this Presidential Special Fund – granting them P100,000 each for those whose houses were totally damaged and P30,000 for partially damaged. Just like the other Yolanda survivors this so-called ‘emergency shelter assistance’ was not only late, it was also hard to get,” said Efleda Bautista, former educator and convenor of People Surge, an alliance of typhoon victims in Eastern Visayas.

“Many teachers were excluded from the list of beneficiaries. Worst of all, the disbursement followed the procedure of ordinary selling – ‘two gives.’ While the first ‘give’ happened after all the hardships the second ‘give’ is still hanging,” she added.

As 2016 elections campaign period is about to start, Bautista feared that “this second ‘give’ may not happen at all.”

“Let us not forget, we are teachers, not beggars. Let us unite and stand for our rights,” she said.

Bautista recalled that the only “relief” education employees had received two weeks after Yolanda were beauty kits – lipstick and make up.

“It is disheartening to note that the teachers were not spared the criminal neglect of this government…Not a single centavo nor a single grain was received by the devastated teachers from this government,” Baustista said on the assistance given to the teachers immediately after the storm.

‘Heartless Aquino administration’

“When are these concerned government employees ever realize that what happened in this country was a national tragedy? We could not stand incompetent, calloused and inhumane leaders,” said Bautista, while urging the teachers to “please wake up now and unite against this inhuman treatment.”

Bautista said that most of the education personnel hit by the storm had resorted to loan facilities so that they could rebuild their homes, reconstruct their school records and acquire instructional materials.

“So when are they going to release all the funds? After elections or if there is still something left on it? In the meantime, it is already earning an interest (in the bank),” she added.

“This scenario only shows how heartless and criminally negligent the administration of Pres. Benigno Aquino III is. We have survived from typhoon Yolanda but not in the hand of this Aquino government. We fear that the fund will be used by the administration to ensure the winning of its candidates this 2016 elections,” added Marissa Cabaljao, spokesperson of People Surge.

Second batch announced

Meanwhile, Jasmin Calzita, regional information officer in DepEd Eastern Visayas, said that “we have disseminated already the guidelines and the final list for the second batch.”

“The list was from the Presidential Management Staff. On our end, we did our best to request for reconsideration for those who were not included in the first batch of first tranche,” Calzita said.

She however added that she still have to ask from the regional director on what will be the step for those not included in the second batch.

Asked on who will be liable for the delay of the fund release, Calzita said that “we cannot tell if it is the national because they also have timeline and protocol of processing the documents.”

“Remember, it’s not only Region 8, there are other regions who were also affected and the fund is not only for Yolanda but for the earthquake in Bohol and Cebu,” Calzita said.

Calzita informed that they already have the guidelines and list for the second batch, adding they are “only waiting for this batch to comply the necessary requirements.”

She however appealed for patience and understanding for the said delay.

In Eastern Visayas alone, there were 25, 975 teachers who were reportedly affected by the storm.

To recall, Presidential Management Staff secretary Julia Andrea Abad issued a guideline for the release of the housing reimbursement aid taken from President’s Social Fund last January 7, 2014.

Recipients of the housing assistance are education personnel from different divisions in Regions IV-A, IV-B, V, VI, VII, VIII, X, and XI who were victims of Bohol earthquake in October and typhoon Yolanda in November 2013.

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