TACLOBAN CITY, (PNA) — An official of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) explained why the national government has to prioritize the distribution of emergency shelter assistance (ESA) fund to beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

DSWD Assistant Secretary Vilma Cabrera said that it would be easy for them to “cross-check” the beneficiaries “since they already have existing structure, data base, with access card, and easy to match.”

Cabrera said that at least 473 residents of the first batch of more than 4,000 families listed in 4Ps had been receiving ESA funds this week.

Beneficiaries received Php 10,000 and Php 30,000 ESA for partially-damaged and totally-damaged houses, respectively.

Funds for the remaining recipients of the 4,000 families, who will received Php10,000 for the partially-damaged housing category, would be distributed within two weeks, according to Cabrera.

For 4Ps members alone, the DSWD has allotted Php 12.53 million, on top of the Php 315 million released by DSWD to the city government for typhoon-affected families, who were not listed in 4Ps.

Rehabilitation czar Panfilo M. Lacson said aid for Tacloban City would continue and his office would not be distracted by criticisms.

“We are just focusing on our works and we don’t want to be distracted with those rallies. We’ll make it sure that what the national government is doing for Tacloban will be in placed,” Lacson told reporters.

He also said m that aside from the first batch of shelter assistance distribution in Tacloban, his office continued to monitor other interventions given by the government through various line-agencies like the repair and construction of road, bridges, schools and airport, and livelihood among others.

Lacson said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has already released Php 8.09 billion on this through the national agencies.

He also cleared that the Php 6.2 billion, which was earlier claimed by him to have been downloaded to the city government of Tacloban which was reported in the media, “didn’t passed through the city government of Tacloban since the implementor are the national agencies.”

Meanwhile, he told reporters that among the funds downloaded to the Tacloban city government were Php 315.540 million on Monday for distribution to Yolanda victims in the city, whose houses were partially damaged during the typhoon.

He also mentioned the P234 million earlier given to Tacloban from the Department of the Interior and Local Government for the repair of the city’s civic centers, city hall and public market.

City councilor Cristina Romualdez, speaking on behalf of mayor Alfred Romualdez, thanked the national government for the support.

“At last, partial shelter assistance is already given to the victims,” she said.(PNA)