THE left-leaning Anakpawis party-list on Saturday scored Liberal Party (LP) presidential standard bearer, Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd for avoiding to answer the implementation and status of the Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA), the government’s shelter aid program which aims to provide financial assistance to Yolanda affected families.
Under ESA, a family with a totally damaged house will receive P30,000 while P10,000 will be given for those with a partially damaged house. The ESA program is implemented by the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) in coordination with the local government units.
“Roxas should answer head on the issues surrounding the implementation and distribution of the Emergency Shelter Assistance. He cannot just simply shrug off the problems of the ESA distribution because the local government units play half in its implementation along with the DSWD. Evading a legitimate query basically is like abandoning state responsibility to all victims-survivors of typhoon Yolanda,” Rep. Fernando Hicap said.
“Reports from local organizations in Yolanda-affected areas from Eastern, Central Visayas, IloIlo and some part of Panay Islands said that the same local government officials are involved in kase-kase scheme. It’s a type of loan scheme in which financiers make a profit [by]getting 16 percent of what the ESA beneficiaries will receive. There are also reports that loan sharks are directly claiming the ESA from the DSWD regional officers,” he added.
“Roxas should also investigate this highly irregular practice involving local government units that prey on typhoon victims’ already miserable economic state,” Hicap said.
The militant lawmaker also blasted the Social Welfare department for concealing the real status of the ESA implementation.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council website stated that, as of April 2014, the total number of Yolanda-damaged houses is at 1.1 million: 551,000 totally damaged and 580,400 partially damaged.
But under the DSWD Memo Circular #24, the total number of partially damaged houses is only 493, 912 while the totally damaged houses listed at 518, 878.
Hicap said the DSWD Memo Circular #24 was one of the reasons the number of ESA beneficiaries decreased, which forced the people to deal with loan sharks.