Palaweños are denied aid

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Palaweños have been experiencing hardships and hunger due to successive lockdowns imposed across the province. They are further burdened by the convoluted, slow, and unfair distribution of funds under the Special Amelioration Program (SAP) and other aid from the reactionary government. Aside from complaints, the distribution of funds were riddled with allegations of corruption and favoritism.

In Brooke’s Point, many families were not able to receive any material or financial aid. Village officials’ was that they were not in the list of beneficiaries or that they have already received aid under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). Residents also complained that only relatives and supporters of a barangay official were given full financial aid.

In Rizal, discrimination against the minority Palaw’ans was evident in the distribution of aid. They only received five salops (dry measure of 3 liters) of rice, while non-minority beneficiaries received a half cavan of rice and ₱1,500. In one indigenous community, soldiers summoned residents at the barangay hall and threatened to kill those who would not come and accused them of being members of the NPA. At the barangay hall, the soldiers made fun of the minorities with a game of popping balloons with their buttocks to win a pack of noodles as first prize.

In Quezon, only a few beneficiaries received the full ₱8,000 financial aid. Some reported receiving only ₱1,500-₱2,500. Residents of Barangay Isugod did not receive ₱5,000. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) obliged residents to work for the barangay in exchange for aid. They were made to sign documents and promised to receive an aid of ₱3,200 after rendering service. On May 18, they were ordered to clean the streets and carry drums. Even after August passed, they have yet to receive the aid.

In Roxas, the ₱5,000-financial aid promised by DOLE in February is yet to be distributed to residents. In three neighboring barangays, the department only managed to make residents sign registration documents.

These were the same issues faced by residents in 2020 when they only received two salops of rice, coffee, sugar and two pieces of soap.

*Correspondence from Southern Tagalog

Palaweños are denied aid