‘Pantawid Pamilya’ style sought in Yolanda cash aid

by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, #newmedia specialist

caption: VINCE ESCARIO of the Municipality of Bantayan in Bantayan Island, Cebu speaks before bloggers and print media on various concerns during an #iBLOGforBANTAYAN event organized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, local government units of Bantayan Island, Cebu Blogging Community, and the Philippine Information Agency-Cebu.

BANTAYAN ISLAND, CEBU, PHILIPPINES (Feb. 21, 2015) — So as not to stain the distribution of post-Yolanda cash assistance with political color, Mr. Vince Escario of the Municipality of Bantayan emphasized that the Department of Social Welfare and Development should facilitate it using the dynamics of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino conditional cash transfer.

Speaking before bloggers and print media practitioners in a “couch session,” Escario of the town’s Public Information Office, stated on behalf of Mayor Ian Christopher Escario, that since DSWD vowed of cash aid worth P375 million to some 17,000 families here, the amount should not be downloaded to the LGU coffers but be distributed directly to beneficiaries in the Pantawid Pamilya system.

“How are we to choose the beneficiaries if there’s only half of the amount available? Shall we based it alphabetically? Or shall we base it on who is severely affected,” Escario presented these points during the early part of the session.

It was learned that by December 19, half of the amount was ready for download to the LGU coffers. However, banks were closed during the long Christmas holidays, so such left a query on how to download the remaining 50 percent.

Further, new qualification guidelines were issued thereafter, so that “an estimated 60 percent of the 17,000 families might not be able to receive help,” Escario stressed.

“DSWD changed course suddenly, why change rules in the middle of the game?” Escario accentuated further.

Bantayan, Madridejos, and Santa Fe towns comprise Bantayan Island in the northernmost of Cebu Province. The island has 500 barangays and 14 islets considered to be the most vulnerable zones in the Province of Cebu, lying on a typhoon path and having other issues like unstable governance policies triggered by changes in leadership that “erase the memory of past administration every time.”

“That’s why political continuity is highly backed here [Bantayan town] because of sustenance of political programs.”

The mayor’s spokesperson went on to confirm an undercurrent of division among leaders in here. When asked by this writer on the awkward civility among leaders that poorly masks a state of being in good terms, Escario answered straightforwardly that though the three mayors are in “working relationships,” there is indeed differences in opinions about certain policies and management styles in running the island as one.

“I don’t know if I can use the term ‘municipalism’ to mean the equivalent of ‘regionalism’ here,” Escario quipped.

A separate statement from the DSWD will be part of this blog. Meanwhile, this writer is coordinating with the DSWD-7 Public Information Office for comment. ###