P67.2M aid arrives-A A +A
Friday, May 2, 2014
CEBU CITY -- The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) distributed on Friday P67.2 million worth of checks to local government units (LGU) hit by Typhoon Yolanda, for the repair of their municipal halls, public markets and civic centers.
Led by DILG Undersecretary Francisco “Bimbo” Fernandez, Regional Director Ananias Villacorta and Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III, the officials distributed checks to 13 mayors.
Villacorta said the total amount of the checks distributed on Friday was around 80 percent of the P82.79 million intended for Cebu under the Recovery Assistance for Yolanda (RAY) fund of DILG.
He said the mayors will get the remaining 20 percent once they submit required documents, and that the LGUs may proceed with the repairs by hiring a contractor or by handling it themselves.
For its part, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Central Visayas has given about 201 of more than 600 motorized bancas to fishers in northern Cebu who lost their boats when Yolanda struck.
The super typhoon that lashed out at the Visayas last November 8 destroyed or damaged nearly P40 billion worth of infrastructure, crops and agricultural facilities, the national disaster council has said.
It also left more than 6,000 persons dead and about 28,000 others injured.
Two Camotes towns -- Poro and San Francisco -- were not included in the DILG’s fund assistance because these did not submit reports on the damage Yolanda caused, Villacorta said.
Tudela, for its part, will get a new civic center to be funded and built by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Villacorta explained there will be no reimbursement for towns that have already used local funds for repairs. Since DILG has not received guidelines for such cases, his suggestion to mayors who attended Friday's distribution was to seek DILG’s permission to realign some funds.
Davide said he was not certain whether the assistance will be in addition to the P10.45-billion rehabilitation and reconstruction plan the Capitol submitted last April 25 to Presidential Assistant for Reconstruction and Recovery (PARR) Panfilo Lacson, or whether the amount would be deducted from it.
Still, the governor said he was grateful for RAY-DILG.
Maritel Oporto, the DILG’s focal person on RAY, said the remaining 20 percent will be released once each LGU submits a formal request for its release, a report that 80 percent of the project has been completed and a liquidation of 50 percent of the funds received.
The “report of disbursement” should be received by the Commission on Audit (COA), Oporto said.
Four of the 13 recipient LGUs, namely, Tuburan, Tabogon, Pilar and Borbon, got 100 percent of their cash assistance since they only incurred less than P3 million in damage, said Villacorta.
Of the remaining nine LGU recipients, Bantayan got the biggest assistance for its municipal hall, public market and civic center or gymnasium, a total of P26.829 million.
Next is Sta. Fe, which incurred P12.002 million in damage on its municipal hall and public market. Daanbantayan reported P9.755 million in damage on its buildings.
The damage to Bogo City’s public market and civic center was estimated at P6.2 million.
The repairs of Madridejos and Medellin’s buildings, at P5.2 million each, will be covered by the DILG checks.
DPWH will construct the Madridejos gymnasium, which is worth P26 million, said Mayor Salvador de la Fuente.
Tabuelan, Sogod and San Remigio reported P4 million each in damage, an amount covered by DILG’s checks.
But Medellin Mayor Ricardo Ramirez expressed irritation with the delay, saying his town cannot wait for six months without doing any business.
“The public market is the lifeblood of every town. With a damaged municipal hall, I have to fix it. We cannot hold office in tents,” said Ramirez.
The mayor added that the town needed to repair the civic center for the fiesta and graduation ceremonies last month.
“If there will be another disaster in another part of the country, I hope that the National Government would be in an emergency mode,” Ramirez said.
He pointed out that the law on procurement allows emergency purchases. He added, however: “At least we received something; better than nothing.”
Davide, however, said the delays could not have been prevented because some procedures had to be followed.
He said the DILG inspected the damage, so if a mayor has a complaint, he or she should air it with that agency.
“Kini man gud mga funds from the National Government di man ni madali dali gud (These funds from the National Government cannot be rushed),” the governor said.
To be fair, he added, the National Government had extended assistance in terms of relief packs, before the cash was released.
Meanwhile, in a press conference, BFAR-Central Visayas Assistant Director Alan Poquita revealed that out of 2,000 fishing boats set to be distributed in typhoon-ravaged areas in Central Visayas, they have already constructed about 610 boats.
Most of these fishing boats are currently docked at a construction site in Barangay Polangbato in Bogo City.
Poquita said that the bureau has started giving motorized bancas to 201 fishers living in the towns of San Francisco, Poro, Tudela and Pilar in the Camotes Islands; and in the towns of Madridejos, Sta. Fe and Bantayan in Bantayan Island.
Close to 2,200 beneficiaries in 11 typhoon-ravaged towns are set to receive not just fishing boats, but also boat engines and materials for boat repairs.
Poquita said that in terms of repair materials, they have already distributed around 2,918 pieces of marine plywood, 447 kilograms of copper nails and 1,112 liters of marine epoxy to affected fishers.
They have also started distributing about 1,475 units of 5.5-horsepower (HP) engines, 50 units of 7.5-HP engines, 475 units of 1.6-HP engines, 58 units of 6.5-HP engines and 15 units of 1.2-HP engines.
In total, each motorized fishing boat cost about P18,000 to P20,000. Fishers who lost their livelihood were also enrolled in an emergency employment program, which has cost the bureau close to P1.2 million.
They helped build the boats and received P1,500 to P3 000 per month, Poquita said.
He said the bureau is set to distribute all the fishing boats to affected fishers in Cebu before June this year.
He urged LGU officials to distribute the aid fairly, after having heard reports that some families received more than one boat because some private donors gave these away without coordinating with government offices. (With Justin K. Vestil/Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 03, 2014.