Ormoc gov’t clarifies mode of shelter assistance release

ORMOC CITY, Leyte, Nov. 12 (PNA) -– The directive to cut the PhP15,000 benefit from the Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) to PhP10,000 did not come from the city government, but from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

This was made clear by city legal officer Ivan Verallo who said that full discretion on the ESA rules lies on DSWD.

Last June 1, DSWD downloaded to Ormoc PhP689.36 million, which turned out to be insufficient as the number of families rose from 40,673 to 52,325 with the accommodation of more names in the master list, thus reducing the amount received by the beneficiaries.

With the concurrence of the City Council, it was decided that families whose houses were destroyed will receive PhP15,000 instead of PhP30,000, while those whose homes were damaged will get PhP10,000 instead of PhP15,000 on the premise that the remaining amounts will be requested from the national government thereafter.

DSWD also sent 274,240 GI sheets to make up for the amount shortfall. Now that the city has completed the distribution of ESA, DSWD announced it is ready to download another PhP289.84 million for the second tranche.

All that is needed is the authority from the City Council to allow the mayor to enter into another Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with DSWD.

But because of the limited amount, this will be given only to beneficiaries classified under the destroyed home category.

Moreover, instead of the entire remaining PhP15,000 to be given to the destroyed home beneficiaries, they will get only PhP10,000 cash and nine GI sheets which is equivalent to the PhP5,000 fund gap.

“The mayor has been blamed for the amount’s reduction. It didn’t come from him as he was just merely being told by DSWD. He didn’t make the rules,” Verallo explained.

Codilla was even surprised by the turnout of events. “Even the mayor, his initial reaction was: ‘Why is this? They said the GI sheets were supposed to be given on top of the cash but they changed it,’” Verallo went on while appealing for understanding.

“Let us remember that the assistance came from DSWD, not the city. So we have to follow their rules on how to distribute the assistance. If it were for the mayor, he would have given out the entire amount with no deductions. Unfortunately, his hands are tied because he will be liable if he doesn’t follow the law,” Verallo said. (PNA)