DSWD: Opportunists feign hunger for aid

AN OFFICIAL of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Northern Mindanao is urging drought-affected farmers to coordinate with the agency's municipal welfare office in seeking assistance to avoid possible "hitch-riders."

Aldersey Mumor Dela Cruz, DSWD-Northern Mindanao assistant regional director for operations, said on Monday that farmers who seek help from their office will go through a validation process.

"Paminawon nato ang mga farmers pero i-validate gihapon nato kay daghan raba sakay sa panahon," Dela Cruz said.

"Dili ta diretso makahatag (og assistance) kay naa man ta mga requirements and documents nga gipangayo but our priority targets really are the poor," Dela Cruz said.

Virginia Cardona, DSWD-Northern Mindanao Crisis Intervention Unit head, said there is a project proposal already for Barangay Limonda in Opol town, Misamis Oriental, where 175 listed farmers will soon receive assistance once the validation favors them.

For Cagayan de Oro, Cardona said the validation for the 21 affected barangays is ongoing.

Cardona said from the proposed 17 barangays with 2,517 beneficiaries, it rose up to 23 barangays with a 5,000 increase in the number of beneficiaries during the validation.

Cardona clarified that even without declaration of state of calamity, DSWD will still address the need for assistance to affected barangays base on the validation report.

As of Friday, April 15, around 11,082 families have been served out of the 24,374 victims based on the submitted lists from concerned local government units that include farmers, forest workers and farm laborers.

Some 13,292 families from Valencia City, Quezon and Talakag towns in Bukidnon have been scheduled for rice distribution worth P3.3 million on April 19 to 29.

DSWD's cost of assistance to families and communities affected by El NiƱo has already reached P7.6 million.

In a press statement, DSWD-Northern Mindanao regional director Nestor Ramos said the welfare department recognizes the urgency of responding to the situation of hunger affecting the poor families in many parts of the country.

"We are working closely with the LGUs, along with the other government agencies. We assure the public that we are committed to work harder, within our mandate, to ensure that food reaches to those who need them the most," Ramos said.

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