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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Change delays cash for Cebu City PWDs

CONFUSION over conflicting instructions from a barangay and Cebu City Hall caused a delay in yesterday’s distribution of financial assistance for persons with disabilities (PWD).

This, after the distribution was allegedly facilitated by some private individuals, instead of barangay personnel.

In Barangay Duljo-Fatima, some 160 PWDs reportedly waited for the entire morning after the City failed to inform the Gender and Development (GAD) focal point person about the distribution schedule.

In a phone interview, GAD point person Reynante Langi said most of the PWDs waited in line as early as 5:30 a.m., hoping to claim their cash aid early. However, he said no cash assistance was given because the City had not contacted him on the scheduled activity.

“If it weren’t for the news, we’d never know. We were told that the BMO (barangay mayor’s office) is in charge now,” he said.

No contact

He explained that the City usually summoned each barangay’s point person at least a week from the day of distribution, for them to collect the master list and accompany the designated City Hall disbursing officers.

“We were not informed then and even as the distribution was happening. We have not received any payroll or master list. No one’s approached us,” Langi said. He added that he only learned of the BMO’s presence in the San Nicolas Elementary School at 10 a.m.

“I told the PWDs that those who are willing can wait and those who can’t, can go home, given their circumstances,” he said.

The Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS), for its part, denied Langi’s allegation.

‘Cancelled’

DSWS, in collaboration with the City Treasurer’s Office (CTO) supervised the distribution of cash aid for PWD.

Ang taga barangay ang nagsulti sa mga PWD nga dili daw madayon. Ila ba gilawgaw ang mga PWD kay ang point person didto dili man incumbent. You know na (It’s the barangay personnel who told the PWDs that the activity was cancelled. They misled the PWDs because the point person is no longer incumbent. You already know why),” said DSWS officer-in-charge Lea Japson.

She also denied the facilitation of the BMO in the activity.

“Not true. Wrong info. Kabalo mi sa amo work (we know our duty). Please inform the public about what is true,” she said.

Japson, however, admitted that DSWS tapped a private individual for assistance. “But it is true that we coordinated the trusted man of the new administration,” she said.

As for the confusion of distribution schedules, she said the PWDs follow a different one, compared to the elderly where the distribution is done simultaneously in all 80 barangays in the morning.

“The number of PWDs is fewer in comparison to that of the elderly. There are barangays who only have more or less than 100. That’s why it’s only the DSWS and CTO who’s doing the distribution,” she said.

There are 10,590 PWDs in the city while a total of 67,300 elderly have been recorded. For the elderly, all City hall departments and divisions are assigned a barangay to oversee.

‘Pawns’

Sought for comment about what happened in Duljo-Fatima, village chief Elmer Abella told Sun.Star Cebu that the situation was not a suprise to him, given their political affiliation. The barangay’s officials are known allies of Team Rama.

Although drafting a letter addressed to City Hall for clarification is possible, he said it won’t be necessary.

“It might just end in vain. Regardless of alliance, I just hope the constituents will not be used as pawns and subjects of political vindication,” Abella said in Cebuano.

He added that whatever the situation may be, they will continue to perform their responsibility, as instructed by Association of Barangay Councils President and Tisa village chief Phillip Zafra.

Despite the confusion, the distribution in the village pushed through and the PWDs received the third tranche of their financial assistance this year from the City Government.

Although their distributions also happened in the afternoon, the transaction in Barangay Kinasang-an ran smoothly.

Barangay police personnel Jonathan Barcoma said there were no reported problems and almost all of the 100 PWDs in the village received their cash aid. Kinasang-an is one of 12 villages allied with Bando Osmena Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK).

What changed?

Apart from Duljo-Fatima, there were no reported incidents of confusion in the other 68 villages allied with Team Rama.

Sun.Star Cebu also tried to reach other BOPK-associated Barangays Guadalupe, Buhisan and Tejero for their assessments, but got no response.

Barangay Day-as, whose officials are BOPK allies, said there were no reported incidents, based on their initial assessment.

In a separate interview, Japson clarified that the morning and afternoon schedule is the same practice done by the previous administration.

Only the venues changed, she said, and only because the new locations would be more convenient or the persons they trusted in some barangays couldn’t use the local gyms.

The City has allocated P60 million for PWDs, each receiving P1,000. The amount forms part of the P5,000 total financial assistance the City promised each PWD for this year.

As with the case of senior citizens, the bigger barangays Guadalupe, Mabolo and Lahug have the most number of PWDs in the city.
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