DSWD to probe reported irregularities and fraud on shelter assistance in North Cotabato town

A house destroyed by earthquake in the town of Makilala in North Cotabato.

COTABATO CITY — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said Friday it will investigate the reported irregularities and fraud over the implementation  of its emergency shelter assistance (ESA)  for residents affected by the series of earthquakes last year in North Cotabato.  

North Cotabato was among the worst affected by the 6.6-magnitude quake that ripped through Mindanao since October last year, the same region where a tremor jolted large parts of the Island.

“Recently, the agency received disturbing complaints from ESA beneficiaries whose houses were partially damaged. The complaints allege that some personalities connected in the LGUs took between P3,000 to P5,000 from the beneficiaries after receiving the payouts,” Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD regional director, said in statement.

“We condemn to the highest degree this dastardly act of a few corrupt individuals that prey on the victims of natural calamities. Even though these acts are no longer part of DSWD FO XII coverage it cannot turn a blind eye on issues that may tarnish its reputation. DSWD FO XII continues to monitor the situation and is keeping its eye on the resolution of this issue,” he added.

Under the ongoing program, qualified beneficiaries with partially-damaged houses will receive the amount P10,000, while those with totally-damaged houses will receive P30,000.  

“After the payout, the DSWD’s task is complete. The department is no longer bound by the action of the beneficiaries on how to spend the amounts received. However, to further improve future program implementations, the Department still conducts routine monitoring of the project,” he said..

“We encourage beneficiaries who may have fallen prey to this anomaly to write and submit a formal complaint to the office.  The agency promises to assist and refer the said concern to proper authorities for appropriate legal actions,” Dir. Espejo added. (Mark Navales / Mindanao Post)

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