ILOILO City – For eight months now, peasant group Pamanggas claimed that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Regional Office VI has not released a single food pack assistance to victims of El Niño in the region.
In an interview with Panay Today, Cris Chavez, the group’s secretary general said that up until now, the department through its local municipal social welfare officers has not submitted yet the list of beneficiaries for assistance.
The group is holding its 1st day of the 5-day Kampuhan sang mga Mangunguma, Mangingisda, kag Mamumugon nga Apektado sang El Niño outside the social welfare office here in Molo, Iloilo City. Last April 29, the group also held a picket-dialogue with the department that promised them that assistance is already in place.
“Tama ka hinay ang paghulag sang banwa. Biskan ang deklarasyon sang state of calamity, pito lamang ka banwa sa bilog nga probinsya sang Iloilo ang nakadeklarar,” Chavez said.
(The LGUs are so slow. Also, up to now, only seven municipalities have declared to be under state of calamity in Iloilo province.)
Out of 42 towns and a component city, only the municipalities of Dueñas, Calinog, Estancia, Santa Barbara, Bingawan, Miag-ao and Dingle have declared to be under state of calamity.
“Manugtapos na ang El Niño kag mabulos naman ang La Niña, apang inutil ang ini nga gobyerno para sabton ang kinahanglanon nga pagkaon sang pumuluyo,” Chavez added.
(El Niño will now end and La Niña is next, but this government remains inutile in providing the needs of its hungry people.)
Last May 6, the group passed its list of members who are affected by El Niño, but Chavez said the regional office denied their list and said it will only acknowledge those coming from its municipal officer.
Even the targeting system of the department which provides the guidelines for possible beneficiaries was criticized and opposed by the group.
“Ang NHTS nga basehan sang listahan nagadiskriminar man sang mga benepisyaryo bangud ang may ara sang tuigan nga sueldo nga Php13,000 pataas, indi madala sang listahan biskan pa ara ang ila lista sa munisipyo,” Chavez said.
(The NHTS which serves as guideline is discriminatory. Those earning Php13,000 and above will not be included despite being listed in the municipal level.)
The group was referring to the Listahanan or the department’s National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR), an information management system that identifies who and where the poor are nationwide.
The group also claimed that those with family members working abroad are not included in the list.
“Sa sini nga talaksan, kung may ara ka gale Php40.00 kada adlaw nga kita, indi ka pagkabigon nga imol kag benepisyaryo sang food assistance sang departamento,” Chavez quipped.
(With this, a person having a daily earning of Php40.00 is not considered poor and will not get any assistance from the department.)
The group said they will continue to protest the criminal negligence of the Aquino government and through this Kampuhan will pressure the department to release what is due to them./PT