Yolanda survivors to Duterte: Choose Liza Maza for DSWD secretary

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines – When they heard that President-elect Rodrigo Duterte offered 4 agencies to the Left – among them the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) – Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) survivors from Homonhon Island in Eastern Samar had one nominee in mind: Liza Maza.

For almost a month after Yolanda in 2013, Homonhon residents felt neglected and isolated until Maza, a former Gabriela Women’s Party List representative, came with food, fertilizer, a motor boat, and other goods.

Members of the Save Isla Homonhon Movement (Isla Homonhon) shared this information in the comment section of MovePH’s #Du30Cabinet Watch campaign page.

"He Liza Maza, upod an iya mga tawu, nagdara hin magkadirudilain nga mga panginahanglan sugad han bugas, pala, martilyo, ngan iba pa. Iton iya nabuhat para han mga Guiuananon in usa nga ehemplo hin maupay nga buwat para maging usa nga bag-o naton nga DSWD secretary,” according to Isla Homonhon. 

(Liza Maza, together with her team, brought assistance that included rice, shovels, hammers, and the like. What she did is the kind of good service that the next DSWD secretary should provide.)

BOAT OF HOPE. Fisherfolk and residents from  the remote island of Homonhon in Guiuan, Eastern Samar say Liza Maza's WeGovern Institute gave them boat that linked them back to mainland Guiuan a month after Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) almost wiped out their community in November 2013. Photo from We Govern Institute Facebook page

BOAT OF HOPE. Fisherfolk and residents from the remote island of Homonhon in Guiuan, Eastern Samar say Liza Maza's WeGovern Institute gave them boat that linked them back to mainland Guiuan a month after Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) almost wiped out their community in November 2013.

Photo from We Govern Institute Facebook page

Lobbying the Left

The beneficiaries of Maza’s relief operation in Homonhon, an island in Guiuan town with 12,000 residents, said they urged the Left to recommend Maza as the next social welfare chief.  

"Ngada han mga Kaliwa nga grupo nga pipili hiton bag-o nga DSWD Secretary, amon gin re recomendar he Liza Maza nga ungud nga mabulig hit gobierno pag servicio ngadto hiton mga tawu kay damu na iton iya nabuligan bisan waray na hiya ha pwesto.

They will never forget Maza in particular because she was the first one who showed up when they were homeless and hungry, Lagos told Rappler.

Lagos claimed that the much-needed Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) by DSWD during Secretary Dinky Soliman's term only reached Homonhon island more than two years after the disaster.

Recalling how Duterte immediately helped Yolanda survivors – even tearing up after seeing the devastation in Eastern Visayas – Lagos said he hopes that Duterte will appoint someone like Maza, who has empathy and a sense of urgency during crisis situations. 

Residents of Guiuan, Ground Zero of Yolanda, ask Duterte to appoint former Gabriela Rep Liza Maza as DSWD secretary pic.twitter.com/rmSGKECpTn — Voltaire Tupaz (@VoltaireTupaz) May 26, 2016

"Pilion hi Liza Maza maging usa nga DSWD secretary. An mga Guiuananon, naproybahan na an iya pagbulig han yana nga umagui nga Yolanda. Sana, he President Duterte, lumingi ngadto han mga Guiuanano, ngadto han mga kablasanon."

(We hope that Liza Maza will be chosen as DSWD secretary. We, the people of Guiuan, have tested her service during Yolanda. We hope that President Duterte will remember the people of Guiuan, the poor.)

After Yolanda hit Eastern Visayas, Duterte sent a convoy of medical teams and relief workers to help in the massive search and rescue operations. He also donated P7 million for Tacloban and Leyte.

'Highly qualified'