By Ali Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – Some of 15,000 Marawi siege-displaced families started receiving P73,000 cash aid each on Saturday from officials of national agencies involved in rehabilitating and rebuilding the war-torn Muslim community.
The beneficiaries, some of them with their children and elderly relatives, trooped to the provincial capitol complex in Marawi City hours ahead of the 9 a.m. ceremonial distribution of the financial aid, the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) said.
In coordination with Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Bautista, Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) Chairman Eduardo Del Rosario, Disaster Response Management Group Undersecretary Felicisimo Budiongan and NCMF Secretary Saidamen Pangarungan graced Saturday’s initial distribution of P73,000 cash aid and grocery packages worth P1,400 to each of the 678 families from Barangay Banggolo Poblacion alone.
Biometrics-based validation by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Banks (WB) showed that Banggolo Poblacion had 705 “severely” affected families, according to NCMF head of external relations Dimapuno Datu Ramos Jr.
He said the remaining 27 families from Banggolo Poblacion, who failed to come Saturday, will receive their share Sunday along with the distribution of similar cash aids and packages to the 623 displaced families from Barangay Bubong-a- Lilod Madaya.
Banggolo Poblacion and Bubung-a-Lilod Madaya were among the 24 barangays in most affected area (MAA) or “ground zero” in Marawi, which has a total number of 15,677 “severely” affected families.
Prior to the conduct of biometrics validation, local officials had reported at least 24,000 affected families in the MAA.
For the 15,677 validated families, the national government has allocated more than P313 million in Livelihood Settlement Grant (LSG) and more than P830 million in Transport Family Support Package (LFSP). Each family has been earmarked with P20,000 LSG and P53,000 TFSP for a total of P73,000, a TFBM document supplied by Datu Ramos showed.
Citing Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) officials’ pronouncement, Datu Ramos said the distribution ceremonies will be done twice a week until all the target families shall have received the LSG and TFSP aids.
The scheduled series of “distribution came into fruition after the dialog brokered last March 18-19 (in Marawi City) by the NCMF between the IDPs and TFBM amid numerous complaints about TFBM’s alleged ‘broken promises and inaction’ (on Marawi rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts),” Datu Ramos said.
Officials of TFBM and its member-agencies originally planned to distribute the P73,000 aid in-kind based on the needs of family beneficiaries, but lawyer Ramayana “Mayan” Saidamen-Basman pleaded in behalf of her fellow IDPs for the release of the amount in cash so that “recipient-families will have free choice for the use of the assistance,” he said.