Soliman visibly stressed, needs debriefing

Efren Danao

Efren Danao

DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman is obviously traumatized by the suffering she had seen in Tacloban and other places devastated by Yolanda and should be sent back to home office for “stress debriefing.”

While she is at the home office, she might find time to look at problems besetting the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program, which Sen. Chiz Escudero once called “Dinky’s Dole-out.” (Say, has Senator Chiz changed his tune now that he’s sponsoring the DSWD budget as chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance?)

Our part-time family driver said that his wife hasn’t received her supposedly monthly assistance for CCT or 4Ps for the last three months. A lady farmer with four daughters of school age from my barangay in Lupao, Nueva Ecija said her situation was even worse—she hasn’t received a single peso in the last seven months. I’m sure thousands of other CCT recipients are suffering the same fate.

Why should the DSWD discontinue the remittance to CCT recipients when the program is fully funded for the entire year? And what will happen to the unremitted funds? Will they be classified as “savings” at year-end? Or, will the recipients be given “back pays?” I hope the Senate will look at this issue before it approves the 2014 budget of the DSWD.

Senate steals House’s thunder
Speaking of the budget, it looks like the Senate has stolen the thunder from the House.

The Constitution says all appropriations measures should emanate from the House but this has not prevented Senate President Franklin M. Drilon (FMD) from filing one ahead of the House. FMD has filed Senate Bill 1938 seeking a P14.5-billion supplemental budget for fiscal year 2013 to provide additional funds for various infrastructures heavily damaged by recent calamities, particularly Super Typhoon Yolanda.

The Senate’s hearings on the National Expenditure Program (NEP proposed by Malacañang even while the House has not yet passed the General Appropriations Bill could not be used as justification. In this instance, there’s no Senate bill filed before the NEP hearings. But what’s worse than the precipitate filing of the Senate bill on supplemental budget is FMD’s declaration that the P14.5 billion would be sourced from the unspent Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations for 2013, which was recently declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

I’m no lawyer but didn’t the SC issue a restraining order on September 10 stopping the release of the unspent amount from PDAF? And didn’t this order become permanent when the SC declared the PDAF unconstitutional? In fact, as reported by Times senior reporter Jomar Canlas, SC Associate Justice Arturo Brion wanted Budget Secretary Florencio Abad to be cited for contempt for violating the TRO on the release of the remaining PDAF funds.

(Abad issued a DBM Circular Letter on September 27, or 17 days after the SC TRO, authorizing implementing agencies to continue implementing PDAF projects.)
So, if the SC ruling is to be faithfully followed, the unspent PDAF allocations for 2013 could not be the source of the P14.5-billion supplementary budget for the year as wanted by FMD. (Again, this stands for Franklin Magtunao Drilon, not Foot and Mouth Disease.)

Foreign help for victims
Before Congress acts on a supplemental budget for 2013, it must first determine if there’s enough fund left from the lump-sum funds of President Benigno Simeon (BS) Aquino 3rd and from foreign donations to the Yolanda catastrophe. I remember that BS Aquino had previously tried to play down foreign assistance for Yolanda, saying grandly that the Philippines could cope with the devastation.

Speaking of foreign assistance, repacking by DSWD isn’t the only issue raising eyebrows.
(Repacking to ensure that food items are fit for human consumption, as explained by Soliman, insults foreign donors, aside from delaying the delivery of the items.)
Another issue that is cropping is: how much really was donated by foreign countries?

The Department of Foreign Affairs said that 51 countries have donated over P12.9 billion to Yolanda victims.

This was contested by one Mark Hamilton who called the DFA figure either inaccurate or outdated. In a letter to The Manila Times, Hamilton said:”The British public has donated more than 55 million Pounds ($88.8 million) in addition to the British government’s 35 million Pounds ($56.5 million). That totals more than P6.4 billion and about half of the total you reported.”

Another MT reader, Elfee Mulawin, noted that the United States alone had already donated $47 million in cash.

“How about the 50 other countries?” Mulawin asked, while urging more transparency in reports on cash and relief goods donated by foreign countries.

Incidentally, it looks like US assistance for Yolanda victims will extend up to February. The US Navy is already seeking volunteers from its sailors who speak Tagalog for assignment to Tacloban from December to February.


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  1. Hoooray for Anderson Cooper, who brought the plight of the storm victims to the world’s attention, and then the outpouring followed….

    Down with Korina Sanchez…the broadcaster b—-h, to Pnoy, and his LP cabinet….

    Nawala yata sa Bermuda Triangle ang 30 planes, 20 ships mo, Pnoy>>>?

    Wala na dapat boboto pa sa mga corrupt na LP at yellowistas….!

    Sobrang malas ang Pilipinas sa mga Aquino…tigilan na yan…

  2. I hope and pray the esteemed men and women like Professors Leonor Briones and Benjamin Diokno have their eyes focused on the accounting side of all CASH DONATIONS from all over the world, knowing that sticky hands of PNoy administration henchmen who are not yet in jail are like magicians and make the money disappear. If the public and critical media do not keep themselves alert, majority of the funds may again end up in the popckets of favorite PNoy allies and the victims will be left only with crumbs.

  3. If FMD stands for Franklin Magtuna Drilon and not Foot and Mouth Disease, I do hope that the B.S. in B.S. Aquino 3rd stands for Bull S**t.

  4. How can this be investigated?

    A group of Filipino Americans arrived in Manila last Friday bringing 10 big boxes of relief materials. The group of Shella Marie Sombrero visited NDRMMC and Red Cross to deliver the relief boxes and to provide 5,000 families in Tacloban City with fast food. Sombrero said that they were met by Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman at the NDRRMC compound and were told that the assistance should be coursed through the DSWD. (Department of Social Welfare and Development)
    “We were told that the bags containing the relief goods should be replaced and repacked with plastic bags printed with the name of President Aquino in it,” she said.
    She added that the boxes they were carrying were forced open and when the group refused the demands of Soliman, the relief goods were not cleared and the group was told to instead pay taxes on the boxes they brought in.

  5. Filipinos must be very watchful. So shameful that even donor countries do not trust this government. What more validation do Filipinos need that BSAquino and his cronies are dirty????

  6. In the SF-Bay Area (California) alone, ‘everyone’, individuals, groups, employers, churches., etc, are aware of the massive destruction brought by typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). They are all poised on sending contributions in kind or in cash. The big question is: Will all of these reach their intended beneficiaries? This is aside from private individuals who have families who are victims.

    I attended the opening game of the Golden State Warriors basketball team, where there was a minute of silence (to remember the typhoon victims) before the game and a number to send a text for a $10 automatic donation, was on the wide screen for the over 19,500 in attendance to see. There will be ‘outpouring’ help coming in. I hope there will be a ‘good’ accounting of everthing sent (who received, etc.) for trust-building. Help abounds, especially from ‘kababayans’ on this end, but many have concerns on the other end as shown in the past.

  7. 51 Foreign countries donated and some actually came to the Philippines to help.
    I say to help. Thank you 51 foreign countries. Indeed, as Filipinos we should be
    grateful to them. Sadly, there are some filipinos in the like of Korina Sanchez
    who until now does not know the meaning of gratitude and shame. This Sanchez
    has the temerity to criticize Anderson Cooper for his honest to goodness reporting.
    Will the truth hurts Korina Sanchez? Ang pobreng Anderson nandoon sa Tacloban
    City at kitang kita niya ang actual na pangyayari. Pero, itong Korina Sanchez na
    asawa ni Mar Roxas na nagcricritize mula san kanyang komforbleng home base
    ay nagsasabing hindi alam ni Cooper ang kanyang sinasabi. What a shame?
    Cooper is not a politician while Sanchez has a motive to protect her husband
    Mar Roxas who together with Gazmin were already in Tacloban before the typhoon.
    Ano ba ang ginawa ni Roxas at Gazmin while in Tacloban? Wala di ba. Bakit? Dahil
    nagpupulitika sila. Dahil opposition ang Leyte, sinadya nilang tikisin. Bakit hindi
    si Mar Roxas at Gazmin ang sabihan ni Korina Sanchez. May mga taong makapal
    ang mukha kagaya ni Korina Sanchez. ABS-CBN should dump this woman for
    destroying the integrity of your station.

  8. regarding thje conditional cash transfer, I think it would be fairer to all if the money is used for free school lunches then be given only to selected families, this way all the under nourished children will benifit and will be an incentive for the kids to go to school.