NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
Six months after Typhoon Odette pummeled the province of Bohol, half of the 48 Local Government Units (LGUs) have yet to receive the PhP5,000 cash assistance for the affected families and individuals from the national government.
President Rodrigo Duterte, who visited Inabanga, Bohol, three days after Odette left a devastating path of destruction never seen in the history of the province assured Boholanos of the cash assistance.
According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) Report No. 142 as of June 10, 2022, a total of 387,401 families or 1,399,420 persons were affected by Typhoon “Odette” in 1,109 barangays in Bohol.
DSWD 7 Typhoon Odette Provincial Team Leader designate, Clavel Saycon provided the Chronicle with the list of the 24 towns that have partially received their cash assistance from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) namely Tagbilaran City, Sikatuna, Corella, Antequera, Catigbian, Cortes, Maribojoc, Baclayon, Getafe, Sagbayan, Danao, Clarin, Dagohoy, Talibon, Loboc, Alicia, Batuan, Carmen, Sevilla, Loay, Lila, Jagna, Garcia-Hernandez, and Anda.
Based on the guidelines released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) under Local Budget Circular No. 141 on December 28, 2021, assistance per affected individual is PhP1,000 with a maximum amount of PhP5,000 per family.
The DBM circular stressed that the LGUs shall utilize the funds before December 31, 2022, and the remaining unutilized shall be reverted to the National Treasury after the end of the year.
However, the beneficiaries that will get their cash assistance from the DSWD will receive the maximum amount of PhP5,000 regardless of the number of individuals per family as compared to those receiving assistance from the LGUs which will limit pay-outs to PhP5,000 but based on the number of individuals per family.
The submission of an incomplete list of beneficiaries for the 5K assistance to Odette-affected families/individuals by the Local Government Units (LGUs) was seen as a major cause for the delay in the release of the PhP5,000 “ayuda” or cash assistance from the DBM.
Saycon bared that the list prepared by the LGUs was oftentimes partially incomplete considering the damage to the administrative machinery and lack of personnel wrought by “Odette” to the barangays.
The partial list was the basis for the release of the funds for the affected families which were later found insufficient when downloaded to the LGUs and would require an augmentation fund request to the DBM.
The list of 24 LGUs that have received their cash assistance showed that the towns of Ubay, Talibon, Dauis, Tubigon, and Talibon were not included even though these towns were considered the top 5 municipalities that were heavily hit by Typhoon “Odette”. Even the towns of Carlos P. Garcia and Bien Unido who bore the brunt of the 5th landfall and 6th landfall of “Odette” were not on the list even as they appeared on the DSWD DROMIC report. (Chito M. Visarra)