ORMOC CITY, Leyte, June 16 (PNA) — Claimants of the Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) should make sure they are qualified beneficiaries before going to the city hall to avoid problems that may delay its release.
This was the appeal made by city administrator Francis Pepito during the first day of the ESA distribution on Monday.
Pepito also asked for understanding for the delay in the ESA distribution. “Government money is not like private funds that can be spent there and then. We have to follow procedures,” he explained.
Nevertheless, Ormoc is the first from among the latest batch of local governments where ESA funds were downloaded including the neighboring towns of Albuera, Merida, Matag-ob and Villaba.
Pepito reiterated his call for non-qualified beneficiaries not to attempt to claim the ESA after he received reports about settlers in danger zones who refused to be relocated to transitional shelters on the premise that by doing so, they will forfeit their share of the cash shelter aid.
A Department of Social Welfare and Development guideline disqualifies beneficiaries of government shelter units from receiving the ESA. But the same MC also disqualifies those living within the 40-meter easement from bodies of water.
“Please don’t force it if you know you’re not entitled. Why would we insist when this is not our money? There’s nothing we can do about it but to follow instructions from the source of the money. What can we do? It’s not ours!” Pepito, who is a lawyer said.
He also appealed for the understanding of Ormoc residents. “We have a set of guidelines. If we violate those guidelines, we go to prison. Which is why we are appealing for understanding and cooperation.”
“The city is in a bind here because we are just instructed to implement the national government’s program which has a set of guidelines that we are obligated to follow and not to turn a blind eye to.”
The official stressed that the city officials’ hands are tied by the ESA guidelines. “Let me repeat, the money is from the national government. We are obligated to strictly follow the guidelines. It may seem unfair but those are the rules so let’s just follow it.”
Ormoc local government got PHP689.37 million ESA for 52,352 families in this city whose houses were damaged by super typhoon Yolanda in 2013. (PNA)