Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd cannot wash his hands off liabilities in connection with the government’s snail-paced repair and rehabilitation work in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda, which destroyed billions in property and left around 6,000 people dead, according to two lawmakers.
Silvestre Bello 3rd of 1-BAP party-list and Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna party-list were reacting to statements made by Roxas’ allies that the Interior chief cannot be faulted for the slowdown in Yolanda efforts because damages caused by the super typhoon cannot be covered by the secretary’s office alone.
The two lawmakers cited the program identified as Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA), which provides cash assistance of P30,000 and P10,000 to families whose houses were partly or totally damaged, respectively, for purchase of construction materials to repair or reconstruct their homes.
Local government units (LGUs), which are under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), distribute the cash assistance to their constituents while the Department of Social Work and Development sets conditions for and monitors release of the funds for beneficiaries of the shelter assistance.
There were complaints, however, from the beneficiaries that they did not get enough ESA aid because the allocation went to ghost beneficiaries.
“He should man up if there are problems in the implementation of the program. He does not have the courage to accept mistakes,” Bello, a former Justice secretary, said, referring to Roxas.
“No amount of evasiveness can erase what our people already knew: The criminal negligence of the Aquino administration in the Yolanda crisis is still continuing. Secretary [Roxas] cannot evade responsibility and accountability on this, not only because he was the government’s point man during Yolanda but more especially because as the putative heir of President Aquino, he is [also]expected to carry its baggage,” Zarate said.
Meanwhile, Rep. Fernando Hicap of Anakpawis party-list noted that Roxas would have done better if he took the LGUs to task in implementing the ESA.
“He should be the one providing details because he has been arguing that the government’s efforts are on track,” Hicap said.