DSWD: We have released P995M of donations
Social welfare officials on Friday deflected criticisms about the slow distribution of cash assistance to survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan), saying they actually had released the bulk of the P1.1-billion donation from the private sector since 2013.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said it had already released nearly P995 million of the cash donations it received as of November, belying complaints about the slow release and use of those funds.
Reacting to Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s remark that the DSWD had refused to answer where Yolanda donations had gone, Assistant Social Welfare Secretary Javier Jimenez, spokesperson for the department, said the agency had dealt with the issue several times.
“Since September when the issue about donations came out in the media, the department has been issuing statements on the matter. Various publications, TV networks and social media have carried our statements,” Jimenez said.
“We even published in a broadsheet and a tabloid an infographics on the donations,” he said.
The controversy stemmed from the 2014 annual report of the Commission on Audit (COA) criticizing the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) for the very low rate of quick response fund use, as well as of donations for disaster victims.
The OCD administers the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
The COA said that out of P466 million in foreign and local donations received by the NDRRMC for various disasters since 2008, only P81 million, or 17 percent, had been disbursed as of last year.
But the DSWD said it quickly spent the donations it had received.
The unspent P171 million in cash donations is “currently being disbursed for supplementary feeding programs and tourism projects,” Jimenez said.
The DSWD gave a breakdown of where the cash donations went: Shelter assistance— P820,932,687.50; support to operations—P128,086,638.38; livelihood assistance— P107,007,468.84; purchase/replacement of furniture and equipment—P33,652,577.54; relief assistance—P26,118,100.00; provision of family kitchen kits—P22,365,728.00; reconstruction of civil documents— P5,000,000; repair of DSWD center in Eastern Visayas— P2,000,000; purchase of toys and art materials for child victims—P903,245.23, and financial assistance to victims—P113,607.00.
Jimenez said the latest donation received by the DSWD amounted to $300,000 (about P14 million) from the Nigerian government.
That was used to build a water supply support project for Yolanda-affected families now residing in Ridgeview Park, Villa Diana and Villa Sofia resettlement sites located in the northern part of Tacloban City, he said.
In a radio interview, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said P1.1 billion in donations received by the DSWD from December 2013 to August 2015 did not include donations received by the Department of Foreign Affairs and United Nations bodies on behalf of the Philippine government.
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