25,000 Yolanda survivors in Aklan appeal for gov’t help

Boy Ryan B. Zabal
25,000 Yolanda survivors in Aklan appeal for gov’t help
In a solidarity march held to commemorate the 3rd year anniversary of Yolanda in Aklan, some 4,000 survivors of Rise Up Aklan converge to ask the government for help

AKLAN, Philippines – Militant groups in the province appealed to the national government on Tuesday, November 8, for funding assistance and rehabilitation for the remaining 25,000 victims without homes because of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

Three years after the devastation, more than 19,000 households in Aklan are still waiting for Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) and other cash-for-work assistance schemes promised by the provincial government, according to Rise Up Aklan coordinator Kim-Sin Tugna.

“These families were deleted, omitted, or replaced in the master list of government agencies due to patronage and anomalous implementation of ESA. At our end, more than 6,000 ESA-unserved victims were also documented by Rise Up Aklan. A combined 25,000 were still unable to receive ESA,” Tugna added.

In a solidarity march held to commemorate the 3rd year anniversary of Yolanda in Aklan, some 4,000 survivors of Rise Up Aklan converged at Goding Ramos Park for a forum-interaction with Social Welfare and Development Assistant Secretary Hope Hervilla and regional director Rebecca Geamala.  

Scrap MC 24

Rise Up Aklan, a member organization of a broad alliance of Yolanda survivors in Western Visayas under Kusog sang Pumuluyo, also signed a petition urging President Rodrigo Duterte and Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo to scrap Memorandum Circular No 24.

“MC 24 was formulated very far from the context of the actual plight of Yolanda victims…it was discriminating and an injustice. We are also calling the attention of Taguiwalo to reconstitute the original list of beneficiaries and to investigate the past administration with regards to the proper accounting, management, and utilization of Yolanda funds and make them accountable,” the petition stated. 

In the November 17, 2013 list, there were 55,168 partially-damaged houses and 32,088 totally damaged houses (total 87,256 houses) affected by Typhoon Yolanda in the province.

However, in the Office of the Presidential Assistance for Recovery and Reconstruction (OPARR) counter-report, the number of houses totally and partially damaged was reduced to 77,337. 

Tugna said, “MC 24 was issued by the national government through the Department of Social Welfare and Development to calm down the frustration of beneficiaries of the promised ESA.”

“It turned out MC 24 was the worst nightmare for majority of marginalized typhoon victims who were intentionally disqualified by certain laws and MC 24. They were delisted, but, not all victims living in the danger zones and those included in the new master list of ESA recipients were indigents under MC 24,” he stressed. 

Rise Up Aklan data showed P1.229-billion ESA were released through the LGUs for 24,242 families with totally damaged houses and 48,644 families with partially damaged houses in 17 towns of Aklan. 

Yolanda ravaged large parts of the Visayas region in November 2013 that left more than 1,229,000 families with damaged homes. – Rappler.com

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