(File photo)

The funds for the cash aid to the families affected by the onslaught of Typhoon Odette have already been downloaded to recipient local government units (LGUs) for distribution, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Sec. Eduardo Año said on Wednesday.

Typhoon Odette, he added, damaged six regions and impacted 27 provinces, cities, and municipalities, with Palawan receiving P195 million in financial assistance as the hardest hit province in MIMAROPA.

“LGUs would be starting now, depende kasi sa bilis nila yan magawa yung list of beneficiaries pero Monday pa na-download yung pera, may mga nag-start na dyan hindi lang yan sabay-sabay. Aantayin ko na lang yung mga reports ng regions everyday, magbibigay sila ng updates, sa dami kasi ng cities and municipalities, kanya kanyang simula, meron naman kaming officers na nagmo-monitor dun at saka nagsu-supervise so at the end of the day magbibigay ng report (LGU would be starting now, because it depends on how fast they can make the list of beneficiaries but the money was downloaded on Monday, there are those who have already started there, not just at the same time. I’ll just wait for the reports of the regions everyday, they will give updates because there are so many cities and municipalities, they start on their own LGUs, we have officers who monitor there and then supervise so at the end of the day they will give a report),” Año told reporters in a phone interview.

He said LGUs have 15 days to complete the payout and will have to form a grievance and appeals committee to act on all the complaints regarding aid payout.

To ensure that only the qualified beneficiaries get aid, Año ordered the LGUs “to post on social media or conspicuous places the list of eligible recipients prior to the distribution”.

He said the government assured that each individual will receive PHP1,000 while families can get a maximum of PHP5,000 in regions affected by the recent typhoon.

In a briefing with President Rodrigo Dutere Tuesday night, Año emphasized that the intended beneficiaries are low-income families and those severely affected by the weather disturbance.

“Malaki pong halaga ang ating idi-distribute. Ang total po ay PHP4.85 billion. Bukod pa po ito sa mga ibinigay nating assistance sa pag-repair ng kanilang mga bahay. Ito po ay cash assistance lamang. Bukod pa rin ito sa mga food packs na ipinamimigay ng ating DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) (We are going to distribute a huge amount. The total is P4.85 billion. This is aside from the assistance we gave for the repair of their houses. This is only cash assistance. This is also aside from the food packs distributed by the DSWD),’’ Año explained.

In Region 7 (Central Visayas), Año revealed that PHP1.6 billion monetary aid was given to 134 cities and municipalities with Negros Occidental getting the lion’s share of PHP1.059 billion.

Some 109 cities and municipalities in Central Visayas were affected by the typhoon with Negros Oriental receiving PHP475 million and Cebu province getting P458 million cash aids.

The DILG chief reported that 64 cities and towns in Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) were also benefited from the payout with Southern Leyte being allotted PHP409 million.

In Region 10 (Northern Mindanao), Año said that five provinces comprising 57 cities and municipalities were the recipients of the government’s assistance with Misamis Oriental getting the highest amount of P99 million.

“At ito naman po ang CARAGA or Region 13 na nagco-cover sa 71 cities and municipalities that were severely affected. Ang Surigao Provinces, Del Sur and Del Norte, ang mataas na makakakuha ng allocation at PHP233 million and PHP213 million, respectively (And here in CARAGA or Region 13 covering 27 cities and municipalities that were severely affected Surigao Provinces, Del Sur and Del Norte were given the highest allocation of P233 million and P213 million respectively),’’ he added.

Dinagat Islands received PHP133 million since it has a comparatively smaller population compared to the other provinces in Region 13.

If the need arises, Año stated that the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will be tapped to provide additional manpower to ensure the orderly aid distribution process.

According to the Joint Memorandum Circular guidelines, the target beneficiaries are low-income families severely affected by “Odette”. The LGUs will post the names of beneficiaries on social media or in three conspicuous places in the barangay before the distribution.

The general guidelines for the aid grant include the following:

-The assistance will be released in cash;
-The LGUs will manage the distribution of the cash aid under the supervision of the DILG;
-The LGUs will conduct the distribution within 15 calendar days from the start;
-The DSWD will provide technical assistance to the LGUs; and
-The DILG will monitor/supervise the management of the distribution through the Joint Monitoring and Inspection Committee (JMIC).

DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said each LGU has to create a grievance and appeals committee (GAC) to act on all complaints on the distribution of emergency assistance.

Grievances and appeals will be solely handled by the concerned LGU through the GAC and the JMIC.

The composition of the GAC will be determined by the local chief executive. It will expeditiously act on all complaints on the distribution of financial assistance and will maintain a hotline to receive complaints.

The JMIC, meanwhile, will be created in every municipality and chaired by the DILG field officer. It will also monitor the compliance of LGUs with the provisions of the Joint Memorandum Circular. It will file administrative and criminal cases against those involved in unlawful practices.

The JMIC will be composed of the DILG city/municipal local government operations officer as chairperson; municipal social welfare officer; representative of the DSWD Field Office (city/municipal action teams or social welfare and development representative) and chief of police, city/municipal police station.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier tasked the DILG to supervise the distribution of cash aid in urban centers while the military has been tasked to manage aid distribution in hard-to-reach areas. (PNA)