DSWD says it stopped rice distribution to Mati City

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DAVAO CITY—The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in southern Mindanao has confirmed it stopped providing rice to Mati in Davao Oriental as early as two months ago.

Priscilla Razon, DSWD regional chief, issued the statement in the wake of claims by Mati Mayor Michelle Rabat that DSWD is bypassing the town government in the distribution of rice for survivors of Typhoon “Pablo” at the behest of Davao Oriental Gov. Corazon Malanyaon.

Rabat said she believed that Malanyaon was trying to boost the candidacy of her cousin and candidate for mayor, Carlo Rabat.

Razon said she was surprised at the Mati mayor’s accusation since the DSWD had not given rice to Pablo survivors in Mati since February.

She said Mati, Davao Oriental’s capital, was not as devastated by Pablo as other areas.

She quickly added, though, that some victims of Pablo in Mati received help and were tapped in DSWD’s cash-for-work program which received an allocation of P8 million from DSWD.

She said Rabat might have mistaken the tons of rice being stored in Mati as meant for the town. Mati is a drop-off center for relief goods, said Razon.

The stocks of rice being stored in Mati, said Razon, are for areas hardest hit by Pablo, she said.

The food distribution for Pablo victims will be extended until June 30.

Razon said DSWD is now focusing on providing livelihood opportunities to Pablo victims so they could rebuild their lives.

She urged residents of Mati, or other Davao Oriental towns, to file a complaint if they see DSWD personnel helping politicians distribute aid to voters.

In Compostela Valley, Gov. Arturo Uy warned against what he claimed to be a scam that involves the use of his name to solicit donations for Pablo victims.

“This is definitely a sham, an illegal act of people taking advantage of the situation,” said Uy. Judy Quiros with a report from Allan Nawal, Inquirer Mindanao

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