When typhoon Yolanda wrecked havoc in Northern Cebu in 2013, the homes of 71-year old Shirley Peñol and fellow Lawisanons were blown to pieces, trees torn down and debris from other structures scattered everywhere.
Yolanda left Peñol’s home impaled and roofless. Donated tarpaulin tents served as their temporary shield from sun and rain.
But their temporary shield got wrecked again by the strong winds of typhoons Queenie, Ruby, and Seniang.
A few months later, Peñol, along with other distressed families, received GI sheets from the Cebu Provincial Government and the local government of Madridejos. However, she couldn’t put up the sheets right away as the wood beams of her house’s rooftop are too weak following the succeeding disasters that hit them.
Thankfully, the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Association (OWWA) has finally distributed cash to Peñol and 340 other beneficiaries of active Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) that participated in OWWA’s Cash-for-Work Assistance Program (CWAP).
Thanking OWWA and the Province for the cash, Peñol said she would use this to buy materials needed for the strengthening of their roof in preparation for future typhoons.
The P2,905 cash assistance was given to each of the beneficiaries as salary for their 15-day community work in their town cleaning up debris from Yolanda.
Mae Codilla, programs and services chief of OWWA, apologized to the beneficiaries for the delay of the cash distribution.
She explained that problems with the submitted documents hampered the processes causing late distribution of the cash assistance.
“Dili tinuod na gibulsa ang kwarta, as reports said. Dili mi mahadlok kay all accounted for tanan, following all accounting and auditing processes. Transparent mi,” she expressed.
(It’s not true that the funds have been pocketed as what rumors said. We are not scared because we followed accounting and auditing processes. We are transparent; all are accounted for.)
She said they turned over to the Cebu Provincial Government the funds for the first batch of beneficiaries comprised of six towns last May 2014. Funds for the remaining ten towns were turned over last November 7, she added.
“For the Province to process, they needed the attendance sheets that showed who have worked signed by the person who worked and the municipal PESO (public employment services office),” Codilla explained to the beneficiaries.
However, then-PESO manager failed to sign the attendance sheets submitted to the Capitol, shared newly-appointed PESO manager, Hon. Dorito Dorimon.
Madridejos mayor Salvador dela Fuente apologized to the beneficiaries as well. He shared his disappointment to the previous PESO manager.
“Kung wa nanawag ang capitol, di mo kasweldo kay wa diay pirmahi ang DTR (daily time record) sa previous PESO manager (Had the Capitol not call, you wouldn’t receive your salary for your 15-day work because the previous PESO manager did not sign your DTRs),” expresses Dela Fuente.
He, with the rest of the town leaders, thanked the Province and OWWA for finally distributing cash assistance to the CWAP beneficiaries.
CWAP is a program of OWWA specially implemented for the 16 towns in Cebu North that was devastated by typhoon Yolanda. It is specifically intended to active OWWA members and immediate dependents wherein they are to render community work contributing to the rehabilitation of their town for 15 days.
Each beneficiary who availed of the program and successfully rendered the required service is given P327 per day as salary, said Codilla.
CWAP beneficiaries include the OFW or his/her wife/husband, one of the children, one of the parents or siblings, she added.
Peñol has 2 OFW children: one is a seaman while the other is a domestic helper. She is currently living with her husband and grandchildren, taking care of them while their OFW parents are away.
OWWA and the Cebu Provincial Government continues to distribute the CWAP salaries to other towns affected by Yolanda in Northern Cebu. Cash distribution is targeted to be completed by mid-year.