ZARRAGA, ILOILO–The elected president of the newly-formed Zarraga Livelihood Association (ZLA) admitted that only half of the supposed P15,000 cash assistance under the Sustainable Livelihood Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) actually went to the beneficiaries, with the other half going to the construction of kiosks that the association will thereafter operate to establish the group’s income. She, however, clarified that these were all explained to the beneficiaries during the orientation prior to the dole-out.
According to Candelaria Mamon, ZLA prexy, they were all given an orientation regarding the cash assistance by one Juliana Robles, who is said to be the project’s focal person.
“Amo gid na ‘ya ang gin-plastar sa amon ni Ma’am Julie (Robles)… nga ang makuha ninyo, ang tunga makadto sa beneficiary, ang tunga sina makadto sa kiosk [That was how it was presented to us by Ma’am Julie (Robles)… that from the assistance you will receive, half will go to the beneficiary, and the other half to the kiosks],” she stated.
To note, it was on March 21, 2021, during a meeting attended by representatives of the 295 beneficiaries in 24 barangays in Zarraga that the group elected its officers, including Mamon as president.
It was also during that same meeting, according to Mamon, where it was explained to them that half of the P15,000 cash assistance will revert back to the association, which will open a bank account in which the money deducted from the beneficiaries will be deposited.
Mamon, however, was mum when asked if there was an association resolution authorizing the P7,500 deduction from each beneficiary.
Meanwhile, she said the deductions will not go to waste as it will fund the construction of kiosks, proceeds of which, once operational, will go to the association.
ONLY SECOND BATCH
To recall, a complaint was voiced by an alias Pogi, who was among the program’s beneficiaries, when only half of the P15,000 he was supposed to receive in cash assistance was given to him. He pointed to personnel from the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) in Zarraga as the persons responsible for the deduction. He claimed it was only when he inquired as to why he was receiving only P7,500 instead of P15,000 did the MSWDO personnel informed him about the kiosks.
Alias Pogi admitted that prior to the pay-out, they were made to sign a waiver indicating their willingness to give half of the financial assistance back to the association. He said he didn’t complain at first and was, in fact, agreeable to the arrangement, even grateful that they were among those in the town to receive the assistance.
He, however, started grumbling and eventually complained upon learning that only the second batch of beneficiaries received just half of their cash aid; the first batch, apparently, had received the full amount. (N. Glenn Aragon/iNEWS)