• DSWD has enough for El Niño victims

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    Secretary Corazon Soliman of the Department of Social Welfare and Development over the weekend assured the public that the DSWD has sufficient “El Niño funds” amounting to no less than P1 billion.

    She made the statement after Sen. Ralph Recto wared recently that a “national crisis” might occur if the national government through the DSWD will not release the P3.9 billion calamity fund and the P6.7 billion Quick Response Fund (QRF).

    Alleged failure of the Aquino administration and the North Cotabato provincial government headed by Gov. Emmylou Talino-Mendoza to help residents severely affected by a massive drought caused by the El Niño phenomenon unraveled after hundreds of farmers staging a three-day rally in Kidapawan City were violently dispersed by the police on April 1.

    Soliman clarified that the P6.7 billion was not the QRF “but the amount proposed by DSWD for implementation of Cash-for-Work and livelihood assistance for families affected by El Niño.”

    “What we have is the P1.32 billion QRF for 2016,” she said.

    Soliman did not mention the status of the P3.9 billion calamity fund brought up by Recto.

    Aside from the P1.32 billion QRF, the DSWD also draws from the Climate Change Adaption and Mitigation Fund to augment its support to El Niño-affected local government units, she said.

    Soliman added that the DSWD had released P384,642,494.13 [from the P1.32 billion], as of April 10 that was given to the El Niño-affected families in the whole country, not in North Cotabato alone, who are “worthy of assistance” from the Aquino administration.

    NELSON S. BADILLA

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