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DSWD director says there’s P 679-M for Ormoc’s ESA, but …

ESA with proposals

Tabulated data of LGU’s with ready-to-release ESA and those that have been released. No. 1 is Kananga with P 207,280,000 with check dated Dec. 29, 2014 yet. Releases have also been made to Tanauan, Tolosa, and Tacloban City on 2014, but the money came from DSWD “savings”. Palompon and Guiuan were released the funds this year, this time funded by the GAA.

ORMOC CITY – Nestor Ramos, regional director of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, said that he could not exactly say when the Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) for Ormoc would be released, considering that the city social welfare office submitted documentation that does not conform to their guidelines. Ramos said he gave city social welfare officer Marietta Legazpi up to Friday (February 13) to submit the correct documents and listing.

Compounding the problem of the ESA’s release is the city social welfare office’s not yet being able to liquidate the P 40-million it got from DSWD for its “cash-for-work” program, he said. Unless the cash-for-work funds are liquidated, the ESA funds cannot be accessed.

The regional director made this report in a meeting with Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez, after the congresswoman expressed her concern why only Palompon has yet received the ESA of the six towns and one city in her district.

Rep. Gomez said funds for the purpose are already in this year’s General Appropriation Act, which they passed in Congress. 

Funds ready but LGUs are not

The regional director confirmed that all towns of the 4th district have funds for the ESA. “The money is with DBM already,” he said.

However, most LGU’s in the “Yolanda corridor” are still trying to comply with the documentary requirements to access it, that is why only Palompon and four towns in Northern Cebu were able to get it yet this year.

To access the funds, Ramos said, the city or town must come up with a masterlist based on the DAFAC of Yolanda-affected residents; second, it must submit a proposal based on the allocation earmarked for the purpose. When these two are accomplished, an independent evaluation of the intended recipients will be done to weed out fraudulent claims.

Ramos said these safeguards are to insulate the funds from politicking.

It was also learned that other towns in the 4th district have yet to comply with the requirements to access the funds.

Congress, in its GAA, earmarked P 689,370,000.00 for Ormoc City, based on the recommendation of OPARR. This is P 30,000 each to 14,132 families with “totally damaged” houses, and P 10,000 each for 26,541 “partially damaged”, or a total of 40,673.

P 207-million for Kananga

Meanwhile, it was learned that Kananga town also has P 207,280,000.00 for the purpose. The DSWD already has a check dated December 29, 2014 yet, ready for release to the LGU of Kananga, but like Ormoc, the town’s social welfare office is still trying to come up with the stringent requirements for its release.

It was also learned that other towns in the 4th district have yet to comply with the requirements to access the funds.

Mayor Mike Torrevillas, in a phone interview, said they already submitted their proposal to DSWD, and also hopes their documents muster the stringent requirements.

OPARR did own evaluation

The regional director said that the OPARR, in coordination with the various humanitarian actors including the iNGOs, did its own assessment in coming up with the figures and fund allocation that is found in the Comprehensive Recovery and Rehab Plan submitted to Pres. Aquino.

The Ormoc CSWDO, however, submitted a list doubling OPARR’s figures and a total reaching P 1-billion, which is statistically improbable.

Ormoc City has a population of 200,000. In a ratio of 5 members is to 1 family, there should only be around 40,000 recipients, matching OPARR’s figures, Ramos pointed out.

Ramos opined that the Ormoc figures should even be much lower, as there are many families here who already got transitional and permanent houses. Many more are on the list of those who would be getting relocation units, like the 2,000 beneficiaries of the Tzu Chi-Codilla Land Village in Brgy. Liloan.

There are also the Globe Tattoo permanent housing recipients in GK Rotary Village; those who got from ANCOP; World Vision and other iNGOs; another 80 from the Gawad Kalinga if the City Government accepts a one-hectare donation of a prime lot from the Vergara family.

Ramos said that the Ormoc CSWDO, if it is serious in having the ESA released, should conform its proposal to the OPARR allocation of P 689-million. “If there are still some beneficiaries who are left out and after further evaluation, they deserve to get it, then your city social welfare should submit additional documentation and this will be submitted to the national office for approval.”

Complete papers first, ask for

reconsideration later

In the case of Palompon town, Ramos said the LGU was able to comply and step up to the stringent requirements, hence their ESA funds are already released.

Ramos noted that the Palompon LGU, which made sure there was a public posting of the beneficiaries, somehow even missed out some qualified beneficiaries and has a pending request for an additional P 15-million to be released to these families.  Whether it would be approved or not remains to be seen, but the regional director said this is the proper thing to do.

“The LGU, if they want the funds released, should come up with a proposal conforming to the OPARR figures and if there are still qualified recipients left out, should do additional documentation and ask for reconsideration,” he said.

It’s 10/30, not 30/70

Ramos also laid to rest the issue of how much the ESA really is. “It’s P 10,000 for partially damaged, and P 30,000 for totally damaged. The 30/70 was just a proposal of Secretary Lacson and it was not approved,” he clarified.

Disqualified from getting the funds are families with a combined income of P 15,000 a month; those living near coastal areas and riversides who are not relocating; and those who have availed of relocation and transitional houses.

Meanwhile, Rep. Gomez told Ramos that she would keep following up with him about the matter of the ESA’s release, so that constituents could already get the relief. “Pasensya ka na, RD, kung kuliton tika kada adlaw but my constituents need your help and maayo unta kung ma-release na kini nga assistance kay para makatabang sa mga tawo,” she told Ramos.

Ramos, on the other hand, assured the congresswoman that they, too, are very much willing to help release the money, as long as the LGU’s complete the requirements on their end.

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