ORMOC CITY, Leyte, June 11 (PNA) — All is set for the distribution of the PHP689.37 million Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) starting June 15 for 52,352 families in this city whose houses were damaged by super typhoon Yolanda in 2013.
But it will be done at the city hall’s multipurpose area and not at the superdome as earlier announced due to the fiesta-related activities to be held at the stadium. The venue’s doors will open at 10:00 a.m.
The first set of beneficiaries who will receive the ESA will come from the remote village of RM Tan. Ormoc is the first from among the latest batch of local government units (LGUs) where ESA funds were downloaded including the neighboring towns of Albuera, Merida and Matag-ob.
The superdome is the city government’s original choice to release the ESA because its more than 680-square meter basketball court is big enough to accommodate the hordes of claimants.
However, most activities related to the celebration of the feast day of Ormoc’s patron saints Peter and Paul are slated to be held on the same site.
This prompted the city government to transfer the distribution of the ESA to the multipurpose hall located at the second floor of the city hall. While the alternative venue is not as huge as the original choice, it is spacious enough at 45 square meters.
The city treasurer’s office (CTO) will put up 23 counters – 20 regular and three special counters for claimants from the vulnerable sector like senior citizens, persons with disabilities (PWD) and pregnant women. To speed up the process, the special counters will entertain regular claimants if there are no beneficiaries from the vulnerable sector.
The elderly will present their senior citizen card or any identification card (ID) establishing their age in order to be entertained at the special counters. A barangay (village) certificate will suffice in the absence of an ID. PWDs will also be made to present a the same document while visual assessment will do for pregnant women.
Each of the 20 regular counters is projected to accommodate 10 clients a day for a total of 1,000 clients in a week except Saturdays and Sundays.
At this pace, the CTO estimates that the distribution will take three months with the exception of weekends, and two months if Saturdays and Sundays are included.
CTO is targeting to serve at least one village per day depending on the verification process of the beneficiaries’ documentary requirements.
This should be attainable for RM Tan which only has 456 beneficiaries requiring PHP6.4 million but CTO is not ruling out hitches on the first day that may result in delays.
Considering there was no dry run, city treasurer Delia Vilbar said they will observe the process on Monday and make the necessary adjustments along the way. This means the distribution for RM Tan might go on until the next day. Only when the system has been perfected will CTO extend the distribution to Saturdays and Sundays.
Meanwhile, the city government has opened a depository account at Land Bank where the ESA worth PHP689.37 million will be transferred.
The local government can withdraw up to PHP20 million a day which doesn’t need prior approval from the city council considering the account is intended for a specifically for ESA.
For security purposes, the bank will transport the money to the CTO on an armored car. Another security measure put in place is the installation of CCTV cameras at strategic points of the City Hall. There will be assistance desks – one at the back door and another some meters away from the multipurpose hall that will entertain queries.
Security Officer Jerry Y. Seledio will deploy 30 personnel from the Civil Security Unit for crowd control and four traffic aides (two each at the front and back of the building) to manage the parking of vehicles.
Mayor Edward C. Codilla also asked for police and military presence in villages where the distribution is scheduled to assure the safety of beneficiaries on their way home.
The national government provides PHP15,000 ESA for families with totally damaged houses and PHP10,000 for those with partially damaged houses.(PNA)