MANILA – The Department of Social Welfare and Development on Wednesday said some of the alleged "looters" of the DSWD office in Davao City are not victims of Typhoon “Pablo”.
Speaking to ABS-CBN News, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman said some of the protesters in the Davao rally admitted that they came from Trento, Agusan del Sur and not towns in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley that were affected by the typhoon.
"Nagsabi daw yug nag-organisa na mamimigay ng food pack si Vice Mayor Duterte kaya sila sumama. Yun ang alam nung iba kaya nagulat sila na may rally,” she told radio dzMM.
The DSWD chief questioned who funded the protest action outside the DSWD office in Davao City last Monday. she said Pablo victims would have to travel 4 hours by land from Compostela Valley to Davao City to join the rally.
"Malayo ho yun at mamamasahe ka. Tinanong ko ho yun sa aking mga kasamahan. Mayroong ngang mga sasakyan ho dun na dala ng mga nag-organisa sa kanila na ang Barug Katawhan na ang mga organisasyong nasa loob ay [Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas], Gabriela, [Kilusang Mayo Uno], Anakpawis," she said.
She said some protesters already want to go home but are prevented from doing so because the rally organizers do not want them to leave. She said DSWD will be providing vehicles for the protesters who want to go home.
She also said the DSWD is bent on filing a case against leaders of Barug Katawhan for inciting members to “ransack” the DSWD office in Davao City and cart away some 3,000 sacks of rice before they were stopped. She said the relief goods were intended for victims of tropical depression “Crising” in Davao del Norte.
"Magsasampa kami ng kaso sa mga leaders ng Barug Katawhan sapagkat hindi po pupwede na itong kanilang taktika ay manatili. Ang mga mamamayang mahihirap na katulong namin na tinutulugan namin ay hindi ganyan. Marami na akong mga sakunang nadaanan at mga taong natulungan. Hindi po sila ganyan kung hindi sila ginagamit ng ibang tao. Ang mahihirap po marunong maghintay, makipagdayalogo, maayos na kausap. Meron lang po nag uudyok sa mga mahihirap na yan," she said.
“The aggrieved party here is the people who were not served because our office was ransacked. The goods were for the victims of Typhoon Crising in Davao del Norte,” she added.
10,000 sacks of rice without list of beneficiaries?
Soliman said Barug Katawhan first blocked the national highway of Compostela Valley last January 15, 2013 after the government allegedly failed to bring relief goods to “Pablo” victims in the province.
She said the DSWD agreed to provide 10,000 sacks of rice demanded by the group if they submit a list of intended beneficiaries and a distribution plan.
Instead of a list of beneficiaries, she said Barug Katawhan gave a list of repacking areas where the goods could be distributed.
“Ang kanila pong sinasabi ay ibigay na lang yung 10,000 sako ng bigas. Hindi kami pwedeng magrelease na hindi maliwanag ang pupuntahan dahil ang [Commission on Audit] hinahanap po sa amin ang bawat sentimo na binibigay po sa amin,” she said.
She said the DSWD is asking for the list from Barug Katawhan since it was the group that promised to deliver the goods to the affected victims.
She noted the government is already distributing relief goods to 200,000 families in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley since December.
“Kasi kayo ang nagsasabi na ibibigay niyo yan dun sa mga hindi nakakatanggap. Yun po ang kailangan naming malaman dun sa mga lugar na yun,” she said.
She also said Barug Katawhan members ignored tables set up by DSWD-Davao on Tuesday to list down the Pablo victims so that the rice can be distributed.
For his part, Barug Katawhan spokesman Karlos Trangia said it is the DSWD's job to identify the victims of Typhoon Pablo and give them relief goods. He said Barug Katawhan members are too busy finding work to feed their families after being affected by Typhoon Pablo.
“Trabaho yan ng DSWD. Bakit hindi niyo ginawa? Ayon sa code of ethics ng humanitarian relief services ay gawin ng walang condition ang pagrelief sa mga biktima. Alam mo yan bilang social worker. Bakit kami ang sampahan ng burden? Kami ang mga biktima. Kami ang nahirapan na at napatay ang aming pamilya. Kami mag-a-assist lang sa inyo,” Trangia said in an interview on ABS-CBN’s “Umagang Kay Ganda.”
Trangia also trumped Soliman for saying that Pablo victims “ransacked” or “looted” the DSWD office on Tuesday.
“Ang miembro ng Barug ay may inisyatiba na i-claim yung bigas sa opisna. Yun ang nangyari kahapon,” he said.
He also lashed out at the DSWD chief for saying that poor beneficiaries are willing to wait for the government doleouts.
“Sabi niya ang biktima marunong maghintay. Kailangan ba maghintay ang biktima hanggang sementeryo, Madam Secretary? Mamatay na ang tao,” he said.