CAGAYAN DE ORO

Latip-Yusoph: Distrust or money?

Column 131

MAKE no mistakes, my friends. Islam abhors corruption. This rings a bell, right?

We see how people these days rant online about corruption in any organization whose life-blood is money. What makes the government bureaucracy worse is the deadline that they give to line agencies when it comes to closing of books of accounts budgeted for the year. December, the last month of the year is just at the corner. This means that all line agencies of the government should disburse all the remaining cash before the end of the year.

This does not excuse the plight of the internally displaced persons (IDP’s) in Marawi. These past few days, we were made to go through another long queue just to be profiled for the infinite time.

Profilers said that they cannot trust the profiles made by the department of social welfare and development (DSWD), so they needed to go through the process, again!

Whew! Is this a result of distrust in the government or just merely establishing the need to spend money before the year ends?

Since the first few weeks of the siege, the Marawi people were made to fill out forms from different organizations, photocopy personal documents, get interviewed by profilers and legal workers, and so on. However, until today, after over 500 days after the declaration of martial law, the government line agencies cannot issue a good list mentioning the final profiles of the IDPs of Marawi.

Yes, this delay is probably caused by many factors but what makes it puzzling is that, we already are in this modern and hi-tech world where encoding, storing and sorting can now be done in just a few clicks on our computers. We can even share data from one agency to the other online.

Months ago, the Oxfam sa Pilipinas consulted me of the possibility to popularize the financial inclusion program they have for IDPs. In this program, selected few IDPs were finally profiled and put in a database where an official issuance of an identification card cum debit card is made possible with the support of Smart Telecom and PayMaya. The program allowed the IDPs to have their own cards which served as their cash cards as well. Donors can just deposit their supports through the database.

If a non-government agency waiting for funders to fuel their initiatives can think of this breakthrough for IDPs, why can’t our strong government line agencies? In fact, for government workers, we can easily be tracked via GSIS ID. We have enlisted our addresses long time ago. Barangay clusters under the ground zero or war-torn areas are identified areas already. They may have spared the government workers from the long queue done by different agencies. Then they can focus on the non-government connected individuals especially the businessmen who lost millions in the war.

I am not writing this because I wanted to teach the government in what they should and had done. I am writing this because I am already disgusted and frustrated in the piles of paper, time and efforts of people being wasted. According to a close relative who has evacuated to Cagayan de Oro, she had to travel and spend five hundred pesos to be in Marawi and be profiled by the Department of Trade and Industry with their promise to provide “Kabuhayan” package which she has not received until today. They were also asked to photocopy all documents that will prove their being IDPs, etc. for an amount they have not estimated.

What does this mean? The previous lists and profiles have failed to report the right people who needed help? If there were lists made and analyzed cases of the IDPs, they could have just traced and sorted the names of the people who are in dire need and have come to provide them with the exact “Kabuhayan” package that they are willing to give and not just give false hopes and undying promises.

What is worse is that there are people on the side making their conclusions that these profiling thing is just a result of a faulty listing made by previous organizations that needed to be validated by the other. Really, are we still profiling after a year now?

Pathetic, right? I pity the poor IDPs queuing under the heat of the sun again and again with the hope that they can finally get back on their feet or at least get a little amount of money to provide for their families daily.

Annoying as it may appear but I am wishing that one day, this idea of profiling and validating will come to an end. I would like to see my people walking towards the ground zero and finally claiming what is due to them.

Dear government, we have waited for so long already. We have suffered so much now to be taken for granted. We deserve to be well-treated because we did not want this war to happen and destroy our properties.

Please do not give us happiness that is fugacious enough that can only last for a day. Give us what we deserve and that is our home, our identity.


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