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‘Yolanda’ aid mess uncovered

The Department of Social Welfare and Development has found cases of irregularities regarding the distribution of emergency shelter assistance for victims of super typhoon “Yolanda” (international name “Haiyan”) in 2013.

In a press briefing in Malacañang yesterday, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said her department has conducted an internal assessment of donations given to DSWD after finding out that victims are still waiting for their ESA three years after Yolanda hit Eastern Visayas.

“Generally, the money has gone to the people but there are cases of irregularities. Our main problem with Yolanda is that while we have provided more than one million emergency shelter assistance to the victims, there are around 200,000 claimants who expressed the complaint that they were victims of Yolanda in Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) and Region 6 (Western Visayas) but they were not given the assistance needed,” she said.

Taguiwalo said that the irregularities include delays in the release of the emergency assistance to the typhoon victims and prohibitions on providing assistance to residents living in danger zones.

The worst irregularity uncovered by the DSWD was the exclusion of victims from the ESA because they were not part of the political groupings of certain local government officials, Taguiwalo said. “We have a lot of those. Hindi patas ang pagtrato,” she said. (PNA)