GENALYN D. KABILING
The government has set aside an additional P662.5 million for the urgent relief assistance to the families affected by the fighting in Marawi City.
Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said the additional funds would be used for the distribution of food packs and non-food items for the evacuees of Marawi.
“I’m glad to tell you that the DBM has downloaded P662,500,000 to the Department as of June 6,” Taguiwalo said in a Palace press conference. “So we have been able to purchase the needed family food packs as well as to augment our hygiene kits and non-food items,” she said.
She said the President’s directive to the DSWD is to provide assistance to everyone affected by the Marawi conflict. She said the President wants prompt and caring assistance to the displaced families.
“President Duterte, when we asked him, ‘Sir anong instructions niyo?’ Ang sabi niya, ‘Tulungan niyo lahat. Tulungan ‘yung nangangailangan.’ Tapos ang itatanong niya lang, ‘May pera ba kayo?’” Taguiwalo recalled her conversation with the President.
“Ang sabi ni Presidente dapat maagap at mapagkalinga. So we’re trying our best to do that within the parameters ng may mga mga controls tayo,” she added.
She also vowed that the relief funds would go to the intended beneficiaries, not the pockets of corrupt individuals.
“‘Yung sa actual na pesos and cents, hindi ko hawak ngayon. Pero matitiyak niyo ho na walang pupunta ito sa bulsa ng DSWD. Matitiyak ho namin na pupunta ho ito sa nangangailangan [I don’t have the actual pesos and cents but rest assured, nothing will go to the pockets of the DSWD. I guarantee the funds will go to those in need],” she said.
So far, the government has spent P294 million for the relief assistance and cash augmentation for the Marawi evacuees since the violence erupted last month. The number of displaced families has already reached 69,434, according to Taguiwalo.
She said the government plans to provide a “Ramadan food pack” to the families on Monday, apart from the P1,000 one-time cash gift during the feast of the holy month.
“Another P4,000 per family has been budgeted already. Once they are allowed to go back to Marawi to help them start anew,” the DSWD secretary said.
She said the DSWD has also started the feeding program for the children displaced by the Marawi conflict.
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