TACLOBAN CITY – Local government units were given only up to June 30 of this year to finish the distribution of the emergency shelter assistance(ESA) for families whose houses were damaged or destroyed by supertyphoon “Yolanda.”  Otherwise, there is a possibility that its release could be affected due to election ban relative to the general elections next year, said Nestor Ramos, regional director of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Ramos said that P2 billion has been released by the national government to the regional DSWD intended for ESA in the 63 towns and cities hit by Yolanda. The amount represents less than half of the estimated P6 billion shelter aid requirements of the 63 towns in the region. “I am appealing to the local government units to complete all documents and if they already received ESA funds, they should release it immediately to recipients. If it won’t be released after June 30 or early July, it will be affected by election ban on October 30,” Ramos told reporters in an interview. Earlier, the national government had set the April 30 timeline to complete the ESA distribution but it failed due to delayed fund disbursement from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

“There are issues that are beyond our control but if all the records are ready, we have to release it the soonest,” Ramos said. On the part of local government units (LGUs), duplication in the listing of beneficiaries has slackened the process of handing out the P10,000 grant for each family with partially damaged house and P30,000 for each family whose house were totally damaged. Of the 63 areas affected by Yolanda, only the towns of Tanauan, Tolosa, Palo, Tunga, Palompon, Mahaplag, Kananga, Jaro and Tacloban City, all in Leyte have completed the ESA distribution.

Tacloban and nearby Sta. Fe town have partial releases of shelter aid for typhoon victims. President Benigno Aquino III has ordered the DBM to immediately release the P11.18 billion ESA funds to Yolanda-hit areas in the Visayas. DSWD field offices were asked to start the preparation of documentary requirements needed for the ESA release. Among the documentary requirements are disaster terminal report, project proposal, rehabilitation plan, certificate of eligibility of the beneficiaries, omprehensive land use plan and certification from the local engineering office ensuring that the areas are safe from hazards. Qualified to receive the shelter aid are poor families living in safe zones and earning less than P15,000 monthly.