Victims of typhoon Odette in Araceli town, northern Palawan, are being made to pose for photos with paper play money representing P5,000 in cash assistance supposedly received from the municipal government.
Local residents hoping to receive financial assistance following Odette’s rampage last week have complained that they were not given actual cash but were instead promised they would receive the money once the fund is downloaded to the municipality by the DSWD.
“Binigyan kami ng papel tapos may play money na P5,000. Piniktyuran kami kasama ‘yan pero walang cash na binigay. Antay lang daw,” one of the recipients, who asked not to be identified in this report, told Palawan News.
Palawan News sought an explanation from the Araceli municipal government about the practice but was only told via a reply message on Messenger that local officials are still awaiting funds from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
“Wala pa dito yung cash. If ever na dumating na, tuloy-tuloy na ang release para mapabilis,” the municipal government’s FB administrator told Palawan News in a message.
The municipality also did not respond to the question of why it was necessary to take photos simulating the turning over of the financial assistance to qualified beneficiaries when this can be done during the actual distribution of the cash assistance.
The Araceli municipality explained that the validation and documentation were being done ahead of the actual release of financial aid, pointing out that the system was explained to the victims of the recent typhoon in central and northern Palawan.
“‘Yong validation para don sa mga hindi naisama ni barangay sa report. Inihahabol sila, na cater naman lahat. Pinapaliwanag po ‘yan sa kanila,” the Araceli LGU said.
Meanwhile, a DSWD employee, in a personal post on Facebook, explained that the taking of photos was a “strategy” to facilitate the handing out of the funds once it arrives.
“Ang paunang picture na may hawak na 5k at binigyan sila ng claim stub na ginawa noong December 28-29 ay isa sa mga proseso na ginagawa bilang strategy para madaling maipaabot ang pera sa kanila,” the post made by a certain MieMae Namoco said.
She added that the handing out of the cash assistance will be completed today, December 31.
The post also said that a DSWD is facilitating the same system of distribution in other areas affected by Odette including Puerto Princesa City and the northern towns of San Vicente, Roxas, Taytay, and Dumaran.