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“Stop wrangling over relief distribution?”


”During my previous interventions and handling of similar crisis situations during calamities in Mindanao? I knew that while NGO’s and other humanitarian groups provided timely and much needed assistance to victims on the onset of calamities? the local officials and their local mechanisms were there to stay? And they knew their areas and people better than anyone else.

”The NGO’s who “parachute in”? with their own systems and standards will be on the ground only momentarily and temporarily. The locals are eventually left to take care of the long term intervention and rehabilitation. They must therefore be given the primary role of handling relief operations. The officials have the mandate of their constituencies. They know the territory better NGOs? like the Red Cross do not cover the whole affected area?  They must provide only supportive roles or at the most? allow the locals to coordinate and lead there is no need to fight over who handles actual distribution?

”I recall a previous case I handled in Mindanao where foreign agencies distributed one-half sack of rice to one family while our DSWD gave only a few kilos to calibrate and moderate releases to reach as many victims as possible? Obviously? this created problems? I had to intervene and insist to the foreign humanitarian groups to take the cue from our DSWD and local mechanisms and standards and readjust the locals know their territory and their people well while the new comers? although “gung-ho” to help cannot be better than the locals? During one calamity? i also threatened some who “parachuted in and parachuted out” to align their standards with the locals? Or else?

”I do not know the details of the well-publicized “stand-off” between mayor Jun Evasco and the Red Cross? But I suggest a modus vivendi be forged. To me there is no doubt at all that the best relief handlers are the locals who are there to stay. The world standard NGOs can calibrate their ways attuned to the local situation?

A final word? “let’s not smear all politicians with charges of exploiting relief operations. There are many upright among them ??among them Maribojoc Mayor Jun Evasco whom I know personally. He was a former catholic priest who went underground as a rebel and eventually went above ground and served with the highest standards expected of bureaucrats as chief of staff of Davao city mayor Rodrigo Duterte? I also know personally Red Cross chairman Dick Gordon whose passion for service is unquestionable? These two gentlemen? I am confident can work things out. Go ahead Jun and Dick? You can do it together.”

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