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3 years after Yolanda, Presidential office urged: Fast-track release of housing repair assistance to Yolanda survivors

9 November 2016 No Comment
9 November 2016 Reference: ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (0920-922-0817) and Rep. France Castro (0920-969-8457)
ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio and Rep. France Castro slammed the failure of the Presidential Management Staff and the Department of Education to give full payment of the housing reimbursement assistance to DepEd employees who survived the supertyphoon Yolanda three years after it struck.
“We take these agencies to task for failing to deliver on their promise that they will extend financial assistance to survivors who had to repair or rebuild their homes,” said Tinio, who said that the houses of many of these survivors are still not yet fully repaired or rebuilt as they continue to wait for the second tranche of the aid.
Castro added that many who had to contract loans from various sources to make their homes habitable again are now deep in debt.Sourced from the President’s Social Fund, the PMS assistance is either P100,000 for the repair of totally or heavily damaged houses or P30,000 for partially damaged. It covers government employees who are victims of Yolanda as well as the Bohol earthquake, around half of whom are DepEd employees in 27 divisions in Regions IV-A, IV-B, V, VI, VII, VIII, X, and XI.
Upon the solons’ inquiry, the Office for Special Projects under the PMS confirmed that only the first tranche of the assistance was released to DepEd on June 2015—only half of the amount per beneficiary—and that the second tranche will not be released until the completion of the liquidation and the physical and performance evaluation by the DepEd Regional Offices and the PMS, respectively.
The solons report receiving complaints from teachers and other DepEd employees that they have already submitted complete liquidation documents three months after they received the first tranche, as required by the PMS guidelines, or by the end of 2014 for the earliest recipients.
“We believe that the lag is with the liquidation in the regional office level and the PMS evaluation. Adding to the delay is the very late release by the PMS and DepEd of the aid to some of the beneficiaries, some of whom report receiving their first half only this year,” the solons explained.
“We therefore urge the PMS and DepEd to speed up the liquidation, evaluation, and release of the entire assistance to our teachers, non-teaching personnel, and other DepEd employees. Three years is too long to keep survivors of major disasters hanging.
”The solons also urged these agencies to address other issues on the assistance, including the reconsideration of the “downgrading” of the aid for some of the beneficiaries (from “totally damaged” to “partially damaged,” with the beneficiaries liable to refund the excess amounts) and extending the assistance to survivors who were excluded as beneficiaries. ###

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