LCDE members in Carigara feel being shortchanged
Camp Downes, Ormoc City, September 10, 2021 – The farmers of Carigara, Leyte, where the Leyte Center for Development, Inc. (LCDE) operated for years as “a disaster response and development-oriented non-government organization (NGO)”, felt aggrieved that the so-called “agency” merely used them to generate funds from humanitarian aid agencies and other donors.
Surfacing former LCDE members in Carigara bared that despite the millions of dollars poured in by donor countries and humanitarian agencies in the wake of Typhoon Yolanda (International Code Name: Haiyan) that severely hit the Visayas region in November 2013, they received barely enough help to rebuild their lives after the disaster.
They complained that the few farm machineries given to them by LCDE between 2014 and 2016 were "defective" that they spent their own money for its repair before they could use them. Likewise, LCDE members in barangays Hiluctogan, Canlampay, Caghalo and Candigahub, all of Carigara claimed that the few farm animals, carabaos and goats, dispersed to them by the agency were "sickly."
Accordingly, they wanted to bring the problem to LCDE Executive Director Jazmin Jerusalem but she and her organizers were no longer visiting their place after 2016. To resolve the issue in Hiluctogan, the Municipal Upland Farmers Association of Carigara (MUFAC) members decided to sell the defective farm equipment and sickly animals, and divided among themselves the proceeds.
Using the funding assistance from Peace Wind of Japan, LCDE with the help of a local politician distributed construction materials like coconut lumber, GI roofing sheets and GI nails to pre-chosen typhoon victims, mostly members of MUFAC. MUFAC was later renamed to LCDE when the former was embroiled in financial controversy.
Bernie Bates, an NPA regular who was arrested by the 93IB, 8ID, PA on the strength of a court-issued Warrant of Arrest in April 2021 at his hideout in barangay Hiluctogan, Carigara, revealed that the NPA assigned him during day-time as "volunteer carpenter" to help the MUFAC member-beneficiaries in rebuilding their houses. During night-time, he had to report back to the NPA camp at the forested area of the neighboring village of Canlampay, not far from his home.
Further, Ka Bernie claimed that there were occasions that LCDE Executive Director Jerusalem visited the agency’s livelihood projects in Carigara, and in those occasions she also met Juanito Sellesa Jr., alias Tibor, CO of Platoon 2, Island Committee (IC) LEVOX, Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee (EVRPC), CPP-NPA.
It can be recalled that the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) promptly responded after the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda with a three-phase "Typhoon Haiyan Response" Program from November 2013 to December 2016 in partnership with a number of foreign NGOs and international humanitarian agencies.
The newly-upgraded OCHA Country Office in the Philippines partnered with several domestic private agencies like LCDE "to assist affected communities (men, women, boys and girls) in Regions 6 and 8 to recover, build back safer houses and increase resilience."
LCDE was involved in all three phases of the "Typhoon Haiyan Response" Program. Phase 1 was the emergency phase covering the period from November 2013 to February 2014; Phase 2 was the early recovery phase from February to December 2014; Phase 3 was the medium-term recovery from January 2015 to November 2016.
Intriguingly, the four villages in Carigara where LCDE implemented most of the heavily-funded Phase 3 projects were in the same area where the NPA were active from 2007 until last year (2020).
Ms. Alma Gabin, former deputy secretary for education of EVRPC, claimed that many funded projects of LCDE in post Typhoon Yolanda were either done as "credible reality" or "partial implementation" in order to divert half or more of the funding to the CPP-NPA-NDF. Many of the soft projects, like trainings were easily liquidated as credible reality where attendance records and supporting documents were manufactured using fake signatures.
"We used both our left and right hands to sign the attendance sheets and documents just to make it appear that we executed the training projects but actually we diverted the money to the CPP to support the armed struggle that aims to topple the government," she quipped in one of the webinars recently conducted by the 802nd Infantry Brigade, 8ID, PA.
With this, the members of MUFAC-LCDE challenge Ms. Jazmin Jerusalem to face them and provide the answers that would make them feel that they are not being shortchanged.
For Immediate Release: 10 September 2021 Contact Person: CPT KAHARUDIN K CADIL (INF) PA CMO Officer, 802Bde, 8ID, PA 0917-560-5896