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Rule change delays LGU release of typhoon aid

/ 12:02 AM February 05, 2015

CEBU CITY—The mayors of three towns in northern Cebu reeling from the effects of Supertyphoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) have suspended the release of emergency shelter assistance (ESA) funds to their constituents after the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), which distributes the money, revised its definition of qualified beneficiaries.

Mayors Jose Esgana of Sta. Fe town, Augusto Corro of Daanbantayan town and Celestino Martinez Jr. of Bogo City are asking the DSWD to first clarify its new guidelines on who are qualified to receive the funds.

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They said they had already their lists of beneficiaries but some on the list may no longer be qualified according to guidelines issued by the DSWD on Nov. 21, 2014, more than a year after Yolanda struck.

At least P1.9 billion in ESA funds, meant to help storm survivors rebuild damaged homes or build new ones, had been released to the DSWD on Dec. 29 for eight towns and a city in northern Cebu that were devastated by Yolanda.

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These are Bogo City and the towns of San Remegio, Daanbantayan, Bantayan, Sta. Fe, Medellin, Tabugon, Borbon and Madridejos.

Of the amount, P283.6 million would go to Bogo, P425.8 million to Daanbantayan and P95.8 million for Bantayan.

Memorandum Circular No. 24 of the DSWD said only survivors with monthly incomes of P15,000 or less are qualified for ESA.

But this was not in Administrative Order No. 17, issued by Malacañang in 2010, which lists down qualifications for government assistance programs.

The mayors said they based their lists of beneficiaries on AO No. 17.

Esgana said some of the beneficiaries on his list may no longer be qualified under the DSWD Memorandum Circular No. 24.

He said social welfare officers who listed the names of beneficiaries did not list down incomes, which would make the list of beneficiaries fall short of the DSWD guidelines.

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