(File photo)

DAVAO CITY —    Vice presidential candidate Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero has called on the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to conduct a survey in El Niño-hit areas to determine if there is a need to update the current list of beneficiaries of the government’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program.

Escudero said this will ensure “that only those deserving of the government assistance will benefit from the human development project, including victims of calamities that frequently hit the country.”

The Department of Agriculture in Davao Region reported that the losses among rice and corn farmers in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental due to El Niño reached P37,917,807.80.

Around 1,113.82 hectares of rice fields in Compostela Valley is affected by drought with  14.25 hectares destroyed and 1,099.6 damaged. Damage corn land was measured at 4.01 hectares.

In Davao Oriental, 1,320.86 hectares of corn is affected with 977.85 hectares destroyed and 343.01 hectares damaged.

Escudero said the government should also implement “unconditional cash transfer (UCT) component for victims of calamities, including farmers and fishermen, to help them get back on their feet without having to fulfill certain requirements in order to qualify for government aid.”

“Kasi noong tumama ang ‘Yolanda’ sa Visayas, marami tayong nakitang kababayan natin na nawala ang bahay, nasira ang pananim, namatayan pa ng mahal sa buhay. Pero ang ginawa ng DSWD, binigyan nga sila ng tulong pero ‘cash for work’. Ibig sabihin, nasalanta ka na nga ng bagyo, nawala ‘yung bahay mo, namatayan ka ng kamag-anak magpulot ka muna ng basura, maglinis ka ng kalye bago ka bigyan ng tulong. Buhatin mo na muna ‘yung mga bangkay na nagkalat sa kalye bago ka tulungan,” he added.

(When Yolanda struck Visayas, we saw our fellowmen lost their homes, crops and loved ones. The DSWD assisted through “cash for work” meaning you survived typhoon, you lost your house, you lost your relatives but you need to pick up trash, clean the streets, before you receive aid. You have to carry your dead on the road before you get help.)

Last month, the DSWD has ended the second round of assessment of Listahanan or Talaan ng Pamilyang Nangangailangan, a database of poor households which shows for various poverty indicators like composition of household, socio-economic condition, incidence of senior citizens and persons with disability, access to water and electricity, occupation, income, and tenure status, among others.

As of Februay this year, 9,832,759 households in the region were assessed and encoded.

The Listahanan is a reference by government agencies to identify the beneficiaries of social programs and services. (

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