‘Pablo’ survivors storm DSWD office to protest fund misuse

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09:52 PM February 13th, 2013

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February 13th, 2013 09:52 PM

DAVAO CITY—Attempting to climb over a steel gate, angry residents stormed the regional office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) here on Tuesday to call for the ouster of Secretary Corazon Soliman for alleged “corruption and inept implementation” of aid and rehabilitation operations in areas devastated by Typhoon “Pablo.”

“The DSWD has already proven itself to be corrupt and inept in implementing relief and rehabilitation operations,” said Barug Katawhan (Barug), a group of Pablo survivors, in a statement. It’s the same group that led a 10-hour road blockade on Jan. 15 to force the DSWD to release rice to victims of Pablo.

Karlos Trangia, Barug Katawhan spokesperson, said the group also believed Soliman is “conniving” with the military in the government’s counterinsurgency campaign.

Trangia also accused Soliman of “mismanaging and corrupting the P18 billion calamity fund and international aid” for Pablo survivors, saying many of the survivors received relief goods only twice in the last two months.

He said reports of overpriced bunkhouses and misuse of funds for cash-for-work programs are clear signs of corruption in the implementation of aid programs for Pablo survivors.

According to Trangia, his group also gathered reports from indigenous groups in Baganga, Davao Oriental, about DSWD people selling relief packs for P200 each.

Soliman dismissed the call for her ouster, saying that she was willing to investigate the accusations against DSWD.

It would be good if they can give the details. I will have it investigated,” Soliman said. Karlos Manlupig and Germelina Lacorte, Inquirer Mindanao

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