ILOILO CITY-Nearly 10,000 families on Panay Island who lost or need to repair their homes after the destruction brought by Supertyphoon "Yolanda,"(international name: Haiyan) are demanding help from the government.
The list of the names of the families had been submitted to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Western Visayas office in Iloilo City on March 27, during a dialogue between leaders of survivors and militant organisations from Iloilo, Capiz and Aklan.
The families have been excluded from the emergency shelter assistance (ESA) intended for typhoon survivors based on guidelines set by DSWD Memorandum Circular No. 24, according to Fr. Marco Sulayao, spokesperson of the Kusog sang Pumuluyo, a regional alliance of survivors and groups supporting them.
Under the memorandum circular issued in November last year by Social Welfare Secretary Corazon "Dinky" Soliman, excluded from the government's housing assistance are families earning at least P15,000 (S$456) a month.
The memo also excludes from the government housing assistance programme, survivors who had already received full shelter assistance from international or local nongovernment organisations or private sectors.
The DSWD had said that the guidelines on the identification of beneficiaries and release of the shelter assistance are meant to ensure that those needing assistance are prioritized because of limited funds.
Families, whose houses were destroyed, stand to receive P30,000 each and those who need to repair damaged homes, P10,000 each.
But groups of survivors have demanded the scrapping of the memorandum, which they consider "discriminatory and selective" and which they said had deprived legitimate survivors of assistance.
"It further victimizes the victims who have not yet fully recovered from the disaster," said Sulayao.
"Every victim should be given due assistance because the typhoon did not select its victims in the first place," the priest added.
The list of survivors, who want to be given funds, includes 9,038 families in Aklan, Capiz, and northern and central Iloilo, among the worst hit by the typhoon that ravaged areas mostly in the Visayas on Nov. 8, 2013.
In Aklan, local government units, church groups, typhoon survivors and militant organisations have formed the #Scrap MC24 Movement to call for the rescinding of the guideline which they called "inhumane, unjust and prejudicial."
A manifesto, issued by the group, was signed by Mayors Ariel Igoy (Malinao), Erlinda Maming (Banga), James Solanoy (Nabas), Edgar Peralta (New Washington) and Fr. Ulysses Dalida, director of the Kalibo Diocesan Social Action Center.
Other groups supporting the petition include the Federation of Kalibo Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Aklan and Rise Up Aklan.
Igoy said the P15,000-income ceiling for those eligible for the ESA deprived teachers, policemen and other government employees of assistance.