ILOILO CITY: Mayor Peter Paul Lopez of San Dionisio town in northern Iloilo has vehemently denied his role in taking P500 from each beneficiary of the government’s Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA).
Lopez said he was just helping facilitate releases of the ESA to the typhoon survivors.
He also said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) municipal officers should be investigated and not him.
President Benigno Aquino 3rd said, during his visit to Iloilo on Monday, the DSWD and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) are investigating the alleged anomalies.
The ESA is a cash grant to typhoon Yolanda survivors, which includes P30,000 to families with totally damaged houses and P10,000 for owners of partially damaged houses.
In a separate statement issued last weekend, DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano Soliman said heads will roll if municipal coordinators are found in cahoots with politicians in the anomalous handling of the shelter fund.
The politicians and other persons involved will be charged in court, she added.
The DSWD and DILG partnered with Ugnayan ng Barangay at Simbahan to form a fact-finding team, which will validate concerns on the shelter aid program in Western Visayas.
Last week, about 350 ESA recipients from San Dionisio sought the help of the Iloilo provincial government pertaining to irregularities in the release of the shelter aid in their town.
There were also reports of ESA shaving by politicians and barangay officials in other towns of the fifth district of Iloilo.
Last month, the DSWD regional office reported that the entire ESA budget for Western Visayas amounting to P6.8 billion has been released to the target beneficiaries.
As of August 19, a total of P1.8 billion was released for towns in Iloilo province; P2.4 billion for Capiz; P625 million for Antique; P1.1 billion for Aklan and P725.7 million for Negros Occidental.