We all know how Typhoon Lawin devastated the Province of Abra. Millions of pesos worth of damages to crops, infrastructure and houses were reported. Abra was isolated during the typhoon. Powers and Communications were knocked off.
DSWD was quick to respond (at least according to the papers). Relief Goods were packed in beautiful boxes. The content will last for 2 days for a family of 5.
Th Provincial Government also declared Abra under the State of Calamity. This of course would enable them to allocate emergency funds to assist in rebuilding our province.DSWD also announce that they will provide cash assistance of 5,000.00 to 30,000.00 pesos for those people who’s houses were damaged. OWWA also promised 3,000.00 pesos cash assistance for OFW families.
You think everything will be fine, right? Well not so fast.
Relief Good and Cash Assistance
After more than a month since the typhoon, people are now asking. Where are those relief goods and funds?
Complaints are pouring in. Instead of the DWSD boxes, people got a plastic bag with some can goods, instant noodles a bag of rice that only last for one meal.
As far as those cash relief, Abrenians are at lost on what to do. They are either excluded from the list, caught in the government red tape or just simply doesn’t know what to do.
Some Government officials claimed that the DSWD assistance were simply not enough (I thought Sec. Taguiwalo claimed we have plenty?), so they divided the DSWD boxes and repacked the good. But then again, each Municipality should have an allocated calamity fund (according to the law, LGU are supposed to keep 5% of their yearly revenue for Calamity Fund). But I bet you, we can look at their annual audit report and they either re-align those funds for other use or they just simply didn’t allocate anything. In other words, most of these LGU’s were not prepared.
ABRECO, for the nth time is back in the lime light. As of this writing, there’s still several areas in Abra without power. According to our sources, repairs are slow because ABRECO doesn’t have the means to fund the repairs. No wonder, they are requiring subscribers to pay for the service drops. Frankly, the ABRECO problem will never go away unless the Governor or Congressman have the political will to confront the leadership of ABRECO.
I commend how the PDRMMC conducted early warning planning that resulted in just one death. They were also in full force during the airlifting of relief goods specially to the far flung areas. This made the Governor look good, despite her being abroad during the typhoon.
The initial Relief Goods are probably long gone by now. But the rebuilding process will take a long time. Is the government going to follow through?
What’s really bothering is, how can the Government spend millions in the likes of Casamata Park, Provincial capitol or the Bangued Town Plaza and yet we have the poorest of the poor crying for help? Where’s the priority here?
They are poor. They are feeling left out, demoralized and frightened. Who’s gonna fight for them? Certainly not the government as they are all busy with their own beautification for the coming Christmas holidays.