Chiz hits double standard in helping homeless

There is something severely wrong when the government can provide immediate financial assistance for the relocation of Manila’s street dwellers who could prove to be “eye sores” in the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ meeting, while more than 200,000 families who survived Super Typhoon Yolanda two years ago continue to languish in temporary shelters.

This was pointed out by independent vice presidential candidate Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, who chided the administration for “shelling out P4,000 for each family living in Metro Manila’s streets to relocate for a period of six days beginning November 15 as a way to hide them during the APEC meetings.”

“That’s about P660 a day for the six days that they have to go into hiding and stay away from the public eye so that our foreign visitors will not get to see the true state of the poor Filipino families,” said Escudero, who is leading all pre-election surveys for vice president.

He said the APEC solution was a more brazen yet quick patchwork compared to the decision of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines last January to take these urban families to a resort in Cavite.

“Kung noon may seminar-seminar pa, ngayon straight away pera na lang,” said Escudero.

Malacanang, through Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte, defended the move to give homeless families P4,000 each, saying it was part of the DSWD’s modified CCT (conditional cash transfer).

“Iyong pagtulong po ng DSWD ay hindi po limited sa tuwing mayroong malaki pong event ngunit nakikita po natin itong pagkakataon na simulan ’yung pagtulong sa kanila para makapag-transitionnaman po sila from the streets into dignified living quarters,” she said.

Given Valte’s explanation, Escudero put Malacanang to task for failing to make a dent on its huge shortfall in providing permanent shelters to some 205,128 families who survived Yolanda in 2013.

According to the government, it has only been able to transfer 298 of those families to permanent shelters.

And if Valte’s explanation could be taken for what it is worth, Escudero challenged the government to also give Yolanda-affected families who have yet to be given permanent homes some P660 a day or long-term stay at a resort if only to show the government’s consistency and sincerity in helping our homeless brothers and sisters.”


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