Typhoon-hit Cebu towns finally receive shelter aid

Typhoon-hit Cebu towns finally receive shelter aid
One of the buildings in Cebu hit by Typhoon Haiyan.

CEBU CITY - After more than a year of waiting, one city and eight towns battered by Supertyphoon "Haiyan" in northern Cebu province will be receiving the emergency shelter assistance (ESA) allotted to them by the national government, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Central Visayas.

Artemia Degamo, head of the Disaster Risk Reduction Unit of the department's regional office, said on Monday that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) had already released P1.9 billion for the agency's ESA, a cash assistance given to typhoon survivors who are not living in danger zones and were able to repair or rebuilt their houses onsite.

Most of the beneficiaries belong to the fourth legislative district of Cebu, whose representative, Benhur Salimbangon, has consistently followed up the funding request, Degamo said.

"We cannot totally say that he was the one who facilitated the release. but it was he who put pressure to the national office to release the funding since it has already been more than a year," she said.

Actually, the DSWD regional office has identified 16 local government units to receive the assistance. It has allocated P2.3 billion (S$70.4 million) for 64,045 families whose houses were destroyed by Haiyan in 2013, and 58,596 families whose houses were damaged.

Families whose houses were destroyed are to receive P30,000 assistance each, while those with damaged houses are given P10,000 each.

The P1.9 billion is on top of the P118.5 million initially released by the DSWD to Bogo City and the towns of Madridejos, Sta. Fe, Tuburan, Tabuelan and Sogod.

The nine LGUs who will receive the ESA funding are the municipalities of Sta. Fe (P95.8 million), Madridejos (P125.7 million), Bantayan (P375.8 million), Daanbantayan (P425.8 million), Medellin (P211.5 million), Tabogon (P103.7 million), Borbon (P99.2 million) and San Remigio (P188.1 million), and Bogo City (P283.6 million).

"This is really a big help to them since they have to borrow money for the repair of their houses," said Madridejos Mayor Salvador Dela Fuente, who claimed the check on Monday afternoon.

"Well, it's better late than never. At least it arrived," Medellin Mayor Ricky Ramirez said in a phone interview. "It would have alleviated a lot of suffering had it come a lot earlier."

The DSWD has required the LGUs to distribute the ESA to beneficiaries within a month. This also means that they have to liquidate the amount a month after receiving the check.

Others who have yet to receive the shelter assistance will have to wait for available funds, Degamo said.

Seven LGUs which are yet to receive their balances for the ESA include San Francisco (P53.7 million), Poro (P18.8 million), Pilar (P8.4 million), Tudela (P10,000), Tuburan (P39.4 million), Sogod (P23 million), and Tabuelan (P28.1 million).

 

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