MANILA, Philippines—Evangelist Brother Eddie Villanueva assailed the Department of Social Welfare and Development on Wednesday for its “failure to quickly and efficiently distribute relief goods” in areas of Mindanao that were ravaged by Typhoon “Pablo”.
Villanueva, the Bangon Pilipinas party’s lone senatorial candidate in next May’s elections, was reacting to published reports that some 3,000 typhoon survivors from Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental stormed the DSWD regional office in Davao City, taking away sacks and boxes of relief goods.
“Instead of threatening to press legal charges against the typhoon victims and their leaders, DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman should examine the agency’s relief goods distribution chain in typhoon-affected communities,” Villanueva said in a press statement.
“While I do not condone the manner by which the typhoon victims took relief goods from the DSWD office, the desperation behind the group’s action showed a deep discontent towards the failure of the government to help alleviate their plight, especially after the storm ravaged their communities,” Villanueva added.
He urged the DSWD to “understand that these typhoon victims may have lost loved ones, their homes and their sources of livelihood because of the typhoon.”
“Many of them have been getting by for months with very little food for themselves and for their families because of the failure of the DSWD to perform its mandate and provide relief goods to these people,” he added.
According to Villanueva, “Secretary Soliman, given the relative comforts that she enjoys, should take the highest moral ground and not act impulsively on this matter.”
“Instead, she should take a serious look at why her department is failing in its mandate for these typhoon victims,” he said.
Villanueva described as “unbelievable” Soliman’s claim that the distribution of relief goods to typhoon victims was delayed due to the failure of a Davao-based NGO to provide the DSWD a list of communities in need of assistance.
“I could not understand the DSWD’s excuse…. More than two months have passed since the typhoon hit those areas and the government is still sitting down waiting for a list,” he added.