USELESS OFFER: ANGRY YOLANDA VICTIMS WALKED OUT ON DINKY SOLIMAN AT DSWD MEETING

ANGRY Yolanda survivors from Eastern Visayas walked out of a meeting with Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman Wednesday to express their disgust over the government’s failure to provide them with adequate help. Soliman triggered resentment when she blamed local government units for the lack of relief in many devastated barangays and towns four months after Yolanda flattened the provinces, and for the food aid that had to be buried because it had gone bad. Soliman also refused demands for immediate cash assistance of P40,000 for each survivor family. “We have nothing to talk about. We thank you for inviting us to a dialogue,” Sister Elfleda Eslopor, a Benedictine nun and leader of the People Surge alliance of Yolanda survivors, told Soliman. The nun then stood up and left Soliman behind. “Of course, we will leave her. It’s useless. Is this a basketball? She keeps on passing the responsibility to the local government,” Eslopor told the Manila Standard. Earlier, Soliman said the pork barrel scandal had stopped her department from tapping non-government organizations to extend help to the victims of the super typhoon, and said it could not be held accountable for the non-distribution of relief, since these goods had already been turned over to local officials who should take charge of the distribution.

ALSO: DSWD chief says govt not bribing Yolanda survivors to improve image

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) denied Tuesday that it was bribing
victims of Typhoon Yolanda in order to improve the government's approval ratings. "[That is] not true. Give us the name of the DSWD staff who is doing it and we will investigate," Social Secretary Secretary Corazon Soliman said in a text message to reporters. Soliman's denial came after Benedictine nun Edita Eslopor of the People Surge Movement said some victims were bribed as much as P1,200 to sign prepared testimonials praising the DSWD and the government for their disaster relief and response efforts. People Surge is an alliance of Yolanda survivors and their supporters seeking assistance and accountability from the national government. Soliman, however, said there is no need to do this because a recent Social Welfare Stations survey said people already "approved" of government efforts. For his part, Presidential Communications Operations Office head Herminio Coloma Jr. said the DSWD should not have to defend itself from such accusations.

ALSO: DSWD chief sends team to probe spoiled relief goods

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has sent a team to look into reports that truckloads of spoiled relief goods were dumped and buried in an open dumpsite in a town in Leyte. In an interview on GMA News' Unang Hirit on Friday, Social Welfare Sec. Dinky Soliman said she was initially informed that only one sack of assorted biscuits, 10 pieces of cup noodles, half a sack of wet and damaged NFA rice, and one sack of used clothing were disposed in Palo, Leyte. But after seeing reports and videos of alleged truckloads of relief goods being dumped in an open dumpsite in Barangay San Jose, she said she sent a team from their regional office in Tacloban City to go to San Jose and verify. "Tutuloy na po sila sa San Jose para maintindihan kung ano nga ba [ang nangyari] kasi parang ang lumalabas hindi lang yun panahon na sinabi sa amin na naglibing kundi may mga [ibang] pagkakataon pa," she said. The Palace, meanwhile, had also said that the matter would be looked into. "Baka ang kailangan na lang diyan ay alamin kung mayroong bang naging pagkukulang o kung meron bang lapses na naging sanhi na hindi naipamahagi o hindi naipasakamay ng mga dapat makatanggap ‘nung mga relief goods na yun," Presidential Communications Operations Office head Herminio Coloma Jr. said during an earlier press conference. But Coloma said it would indeed be better to dispose of expired goods than distribute them to people.

EARLIER FROM ORMOC, CITY: Typhoon Yolanda: DSWD Wasted and Rotting Relief Goods

Going viral on Facebook, Ron Epiz's shares some snaps of rotting relief goods, wasted food due to disorganized repacking operations and delivery boxes just being dumped without care. Here's the post below: I was in Tacloban for three days. I went there last Saturday and went home just last night. I saw the heartbreaking devastation. The place where we used to go as our alternative for Cebu, is now ruined by ST Yolanda. As we traveled from Maasin to Tacloban, we have seen the damaged. Worst from the damages of agriculture, infrastructures, and houses, are the lives of the people. I have seen dead bodies along the roads: some in body bags, some in the coffins, some exposed and rotten...all of them cannot anymore be identified. But what breaks my heart are the signages, posters, whatever of any kind with one message: "HELP US! WE NEED FOOD AND WATER!" I was there. I was at the relief warehouse, I've helped the relief packing. I was at the airport, I saw how the countries in the world unite as one. I visited some areas and saw the Leytenos go on with their lives despite the tragedy. I went to Sampaguita village in Tacloban City to visit a friend who I call a survivor. Their house still stands but roofless, yet they cater neighbors whose houses are completely damaged. There are debris around their area. She told me they have not received any reliefs yet. We arrived at the area around 2pm, introduced our team and presented to volunteer. The DSWD staff told us "PAHINGA MUNA KAYO HA". We were staring with each other. And I was like, WTF! We're here to help, we traveled around 4 hours and then...we're just told to rest!? And yes, we wasted about 3 hours because they told us to rest! We entered the packing area of the warehouse around 5pm. We presented our vehicle to be used for transport of reliefs for distribution but it seems like they do not need it. As you can see in the photos, reliefs are abundant. Every hour, international and local reliefs arrive at the Warehouse. A number of volunteers come to help. And, a number of survivors walked as far as Jaro,Leyte to the warehouse, trying if they can get reliefs directly.


READ FULL REPORTS HERE:

Dinky earns ire of storm victims with useless offer


Reasoning out. Benedictine nun Edita Eslopor, a co-convenor of the People Surge group of Typhoon Yolanda victims, listens to Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman explain why the government has to stop giving food aid to the victims by the end of March although food packages are rotting in government warehouses. The photo below a protester condemning the Aquino administration for its poor response to typhoon victims. MANNY PALMERO

MANILA, MARCH 10, 2014
(MANILA STANDARD) By Rio N. Araja, Christine F. Herrera and Maricel V. Cruz - ANGRY Yolanda survivors from Eastern Visayas walked out of a meeting with Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman Wednesday to express their disgust over the government’s failure to provide them with adequate help.

Soliman triggered resentment when she blamed local government units for the lack of relief in many devastated barangays and towns four months after Yolanda flattened the provinces, and for the food aid that had to be buried because it had gone bad.

Soliman also refused demands for immediate cash assistance of P40,000 for each survivor family.

“We have nothing to talk about. We thank you for inviting us to a dialogue,” Sister Elfleda Eslopor, a Benedictine nun and leader of the People Surge alliance of Yolanda survivors, told Soliman.

The nun then stood up and left Soliman behind.

“Of course, we will leave her. It’s useless. Is this a basketball? She keeps on passing the responsibility to the local government,” Eslopor told the Manila Standard.

Earlier, Soliman said the pork barrel scandal had stopped her department from tapping non-government organizations to extend help to the victims of the super typhoon, and said it could not be held accountable for the non-distribution of relief, since these goods had already been turned over to local officials who should take charge of the distribution.

“If there is non-distribution of relief goods, please report it to us so we would know and check from the mayors or governors why our relief goods were not able to reach the victims. Please state the address,” Soliman said.

Soliman also said it was the local governments’ responsibility to carry out the cash-for-work program.

“We can only give technical assistance, but cannot give money directly to you. I can mobilize our regional offices to help you seek help from the local government units,” Soliman told the typhoons survivors.

But their representatives refused Soliman’s offer.

“So, we cannot expect anything from the national government,” Joel Abano, another member of People Surge, told Soliman.

Gabriela and People Surge called Soliman’s offer a band-aid solution.

Responding to Soliman’s call for them to report problems to the DSWD hotline, Gabriela’s Joan Salvador told Soliman: “The people are hungry and tired. They do not even have cell phones, then you tell us that?”

“As a national agency, we give to the LGUs our assistance,” Soliman said.

Soliman also said that relief would only be made available beyond March to “those who cannot stand on their own” and that assistance to others would stop by the end of the month.

By then, she added, people would already be enrolled in a food-for-work program.

But when Gabriela’s Emmi de Jesus asked how many people had been enrolled in the program, Soliman said her office had yet to collate the data.

“And how, if I may ask, do you define people that are already stable and can stand on their own feet?”

Soliman said by March 31, she expects the people to have regular income.

“And how many are they?” De Jesus asked.

“We don’t know yet. We are still collating the data,” Soliman replied.

During the meeting, Soliman acted as if it was the first time she heard of their woes.

“The DSWD has been giving us rotten food that’s unfit for human consumption,” one of the Yolanda survivors told Soliman.

“Is that true? From what barangay are you? This is the first time I’ve heard of that. You must understand that we are undermanned and it’s usually the local executives that distribute the relief goods,” Soliman replied.

The typhoon survivors got even angrier because Soliman appeared distant and distracted and talked to them with a “poker face,” said De Jesus.

“Soliman is clueless and doesn’t know what she’s doing. This government is really indifferent to the hapless and helpless victims of Yolanda,” she said.

Some 100 survivors picketed outside the DSWD headquarters while the dialogue was ongoing.

Garbriela on Wednesday filed a resolution in the House urging President Benigno Aquino III to grant the demand of the survivors for P40,000 immediate financial assistance to the 3.4 million families affected by the typhoon.

In a resolution, Gabriela party-list Rep. Luz Ilagan said also urged the government to source the funds from the remaining 2013 Quick Response Fund, the P14.6 billion supplemental budget, the Presidential Social Fund, and cash grants from foreign aid pledges, among other sources.

Ilagan said the post-disaster actions and measures undertaken by the government had been dismally poor and wanting after four months of waiting for meaningful relief.

“Considering that donations, both domestic and foreign, as well as allocations of government funds are made to and for the victims, it is only fitting that the government listens, and listens intently, to the victims themselves,” Ilagan said.

“Unfortunately, most disaster response prioritizes Aquino’s Public-Private Partnership projects, investing larger amount of funds for the rehabilitation of infrastructure, instead of investing more on agriculture which is the most damaged sector and the basic livelihood of the people in the affected areas,” Ilagan said.

1-BAP party-list Rep. Silvestre Bello III, a member of the opposition, supported the call for financial assistance for Yolanda survivors.

But Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. rejected financial assistance for Yolanda survivors.

“After they have spent it, what then?” Belmonte asked. “For me, [we should] hire them to work on the rehabilitation of their own homes,” the Speaker added.

Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III added that financial assistance to the typhoon victims would only promote mendicancy, noting that a long term plan—and a livelihood—should be provided to the Yolanda victims.

But Ilagan said said the government has money to spend P200 million on substandard bunkhouses that will benefit only 100 families at an overpriced cost of P1 million for every substandard unit.

“Yet it keeps telling the victims it has no money and no solution for the requested P40,000 financial assistance per family,” Ilagan said.

She added the resolution is intended to move the Aquino government to provide the necessary funding for the Yolanda survivors.

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

DSWD chief says govt not bribing Yolanda survivors to improve image March 11, 2014 2:36pm 200 18 0 230


DSWD Sec Dinky Soliman with PNoy

MANILA -The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) denied Tuesday that it was bribing victims of Typhoon Yolanda in order to improve the government's approval ratings.

"[That is] not true. Give us the name of the DSWD staff who is doing it and we will investigate," Social Secretary Secretary Corazon Soliman said in a text message to reporters.

Soliman's denial came after Benedictine nun Edita Eslopor of the People Surge Movement said some victims were bribed as much as P1,200 to sign prepared testimonials praising the DSWD and the government for their disaster relief and response efforts.

People Surge is an alliance of Yolanda survivors and their supporters seeking assistance and accountability from the national government.

Soliman, however, said there is no need to do this because a recent Social Welfare Stations survey said people already "approved" of government efforts.

For his part, Presidential Communications Operations Office head Herminio Coloma Jr. said the DSWD should not have to defend itself from such accusations.

"Sinuman nag nagpaparatang tungkulin nilang magpakita ng kongkretong ebidensya," he said during a press briefing on Tuesday.

Yolanda's wrath

Yolanda, the strongest typhoon in the world ever recorded, struck the central part of the Philippines on Nov. 8 last year. Government records showed the death toll from Yolanda has reached over 6,200 and still rising as bodies continue to be found everyday.

On the other hand, 28,626 others were reported injured with 1,785 others still missing.

Yolanda affected 3,424,593 families or 16,078,181 people in 12,095 villages in 44 provinces, displacing 890,895 families or 4,095,280 people. — Kimberly Jane Tan/RSJ, GMA News

DSWD chief sends team to probe spoiled relief goods March 14, 2014 11:31am 569 11 0 594

  VIDEO: UNANG BALITA GMA NEWS TV


Published on Mar 13, 2014 Unang Balita is the news segment of GMA Network's daily morning program, Unang Hirit. It's anchored by Rhea Santos and Arnold Clavio, and airs on GMA-7 Mondays to Fridays at 5:15 AM (PHL Time).


PHOTOS FROM ORMOC, CITY: ROTTING RELIEF GOODS

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has sent a team to look into reports that truckloads of spoiled relief goods were dumped and buried in an open dumpsite in a town in Leyte.

In an interview on GMA News' Unang Hirit on Friday, Social Welfare Sec. Dinky Soliman said she was initially informed that only one sack of assorted biscuits, 10 pieces of cup noodles, half a sack of wet and damaged NFA rice, and one sack of used clothing were disposed in Palo, Leyte.

But after seeing reports and videos of alleged truckloads of relief goods being dumped in an open dumpsite in Barangay San Jose, she said she sent a team from their regional office in Tacloban City to go to San Jose and verify.

"Tutuloy na po sila sa San Jose para maintindihan kung ano nga ba [ang nangyari] kasi parang ang lumalabas hindi lang yun panahon na sinabi sa amin na naglibing kundi may mga [ibang] pagkakataon pa," she said.

The Palace, meanwhile, had also said that the matter would be looked into.

"Baka ang kailangan na lang diyan ay alamin kung mayroong bang naging pagkukulang o kung meron bang lapses na naging sanhi na hindi naipamahagi o hindi naipasakamay ng mga dapat makatanggap ‘nung mga relief goods na yun," Presidential Communications Operations Office head Herminio Coloma Jr. said during an earlier press conference.

But Coloma said it would indeed be better to dispose of expired goods than distribute them to people.

"Kung talagang nag-expire na yung kanilang palatability o yung useful life, iresponsable naman na ipapamigay pa yun," he said.

Yolanda relief

In the same television interview, Soliman said they have distributed 66,252,784 food packs to victims of super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) from November to February. Of this number, 5,327,265 went to Region VIII, which includes Samar and Leyte.

"So yan po ang aming nakikitang pinakamahalagang tapatan namin [na nakakatulong kami] at aming tingin ay yung ho sa pangangailangan sa pagkain ay stable po," she said.

She likewise clarified that the distribution of food packs will continue. But after March, she said they will evaluate which families can already provide for themselves.

"Tatantsahin o ieevaluate [namin] sinong mga pamilya ang may kayang tumayo sa sariling paa o may kinukuhanan na ng hanapbuhay," she said.

Aside from this, she said they have already started implementing the cash for work program last December with the help of other private and government agencies.

She said at least 20,000 beneficiaries have received compensation for 10-day jobs.

On the other hand, Soliman said they still need to construct 100 bunkhouses for affected residents. She said they have already built 53, all of which are now being occupied by typhoon victims.

"Pinag-utos ng Pangulo [na] lahat ng nasa tents kung maaari bago magtag-ulan ay nasa mas ligtas na tirahan kung hindi man permanent shelters," she said.

Soliman said they are using the aid from other countries, at least P800 million of which went to the DSWD, in helping fund the cash for work program and construction of transitional shelters.

However, she noted that most of the financial aid which came in for the country during the first four to five weeks after Yolanda struck did not go to the government but to non-government organizations and similar agencies.

Soliman said the funds, now amounting to at least P24.6 billion, can be monitored on the website Foreign Aid Transparency Hub (FAiTH). Of this number, P3 billion is cash and P21.6 is non-cash.

Casualties, damage from Yolanda

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said the death toll due to Yolanda has reached 6,245 as of March 6.

On the other hand, 28,626 were injured and 1,039 are still missing.

It also said 890,895 families or 4,095,280 people were displaced and served inside and outside evacuation centers.

The NDRRMC said a total of P1.26 billion worth of relief assistance has so far been provided to affected families. It likewise said a total of 35,489 personnel, 1,351 vehicles, 118 sea craft, 163 aircraft, and 28,361 other assets and equipment were deployed to affected areas.

The total cost of damages from Yolanda is estimated to be almost P40 billion, including infrastructure and agriculture. — Kimberly Jane Tan/RSJ, GMA News

For more videos from Unang Balita, visit http://www.gmanetwork.com/unangbalita.

EARLIER REPORT FROM ORMOC, CITY

Ormoc City, Leyte added 4 new photos — with Virginia Suarez Burris and 2 others. November 20, 2013 ·

Typhoon Yolanda: DSWD Wasted and Rotting Relief Goods


The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) wasted some of the relief goods given by various local and international organizations as claimed by Facebook user Ron Epiz on his official Facebook Page. -

Going viral on Facebook, Ron Epiz's shares some snaps of rotting relief goods, wasted food due to disorganized repacking operations and delivery boxes just being dumped without care. Here's the post below:

I was in Tacloban for three days. I went there last Saturday and went home just last night. I saw the heartbreaking devastation. The place where we used to go as our alternative for Cebu, is now ruined by ST Yolanda. As we traveled from Maasin to Tacloban, we have seen the damaged.

Worst from the damages of agriculture, infrastructures, and houses, are the lives of the people. I have seen dead bodies along the roads: some in body bags, some in the coffins, some exposed and rotten...all of them cannot anymore be identified.

But what breaks my heart are the signages, posters, whatever of any kind with one message: "HELP US! WE NEED FOOD AND WATER!"

I was there. I was at the relief warehouse, I've helped the relief packing. I was at the airport, I saw how the countries in the world unite as one. I visited some areas and saw the Leytenos go on with their lives despite the tragedy.

I went to Sampaguita village in Tacloban City to visit a friend who I call a survivor. Their house still stands but roofless, yet they cater neighbors whose houses are completely damaged. There are debris around their area. She told me they have not received any reliefs yet.

They were only able to get reliefs ONES BECAUSE THEY WALKED FROM THEIR HOUSE TO THE AIRPORT.

I also went to Tabon-tabon,Leyte to check families of my friends. It is an interior town of Leyte Province with 16 barangays. They are also heavily damaged. They have 14 human casualties, a number of injured residents, and roofless houses.

They only got reliefs from the Province of Leyte, but only a few received it.

There are even reliefs that were soaked in the rain, wet and wasted!

We passed the towns of: MacArthur, Dulag, Tolosa, Tanauan, and Palo, we have seen different calls for HELP. I have seen people lining up, hoping and waiting to receive reliefs.

My first day in Tacloban was spent at the Relief Warehouse doing NOTHING.

We arrived at the area around 2pm, introduced our team and presented to volunteer.

The DSWD staff told us "PAHINGA MUNA KAYO HA".

We were staring with each other. And I was like, WTF! We're here to help, we traveled around 4 hours and then...we're just told to rest!?

And yes, we wasted about 3 hours because they told us to rest!

We entered the packing area of the warehouse around 5pm. We presented our vehicle to be used for transport of reliefs for distribution but it seems like they do not need it.

As you can see in the photos, reliefs are abundant.

Every hour, international and local reliefs arrive at the Warehouse. A number of volunteers come to help. And, a number of survivors walked as far as Jaro,Leyte to the warehouse, trying if they can get reliefs directly.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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