ILOILO CITY: The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Western Visayas regional office will revalidate the list of beneficiaries under the Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) program.
May Ragu, information officer of DSWD 6, said the objective of the review is to purge the unqualified beneficiaries and to possibly retrieve the cash assistance given to them.
Ragu added that the marching orders of DSWD Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman is to file charges against individuals involved in ESA anomalies, including those found to be responsible for abusing the pro-poor program of the government.
It was Manila-based broadcaster, Ted Failon, who exposed the modus-operandi of individuals who exploit beneficiaries of the shelter program by exposing them to loan sharks.
Failon mentioned some cases in Estancia, Iloilo where beneficiaries were duped to loan their shelter assistance with 16 percent interest from a financier allegedly recommended by the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer.
The ESA is given to families affected by Typhoon Yolanda who have passed the requirements to qualify for the program.
The beneficiaries were given P10,000 for partially damaged houses and P30,000 to those with totally damaged houses. The assistance was released through local government units as part of the rehabilitation efforts to help Typhoon Yolanda survivors rebuild their homes.
Ragu said they hope to complete the ESA distribution in all municipalities of Western Visayas by September 15 this year.
For now, the DSWD is doing home assessments to validate the claim for totally damaged or partially damaged houses. The agency has also sought the help of local government units in identifying the beneficiaries, since they know who among their constituents are qualified beneficiaries.