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Cebu News

Davide to risk being sued,will distribute relief goods

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III yesterday said that if the Commission on Elections still would not act on their request for exemption in the succeeding days, the Capitol would be forced to distribute relief goods without its permission to victims of an ongoing dry spell through the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Office and the Provincial Agriculture Office.

“It’s not a form of electioneering. It is basically assisting those who are in need of help. We cannot wait for people to die there of hunger. It’s our duty, it’s the duty of the government to help them. Bahala na ikiha atong tabangan those suffering from the drought,” he told reporters yesterday.

Under Comelec Resolution No. 3479 (Rules and Regulations Governing Public Works Ban and Release, Disbursement and Expenditures of Public Funds), all local government units must either seek for an exemption from Comelec when distributing relief items to victims or course them through the Philippine National Red Cross or the Department of Social Welfare and Development because of the election period.

“That’s the only way matabangan atong kaigsuonan. We don’t want to be accused of neglecting and abandoning our constituents. Naay mangamatay kita na pud ang basulon,” the governor said.

He assured that no government officials will be part of the distribution to avoid allegations of electioneering, among others.

Section 1, paragraph 2 of  Comelec Resolution No. 3479 provides that “no candidate or his or her spouse or member of his family within the second civil degree of affinity or consanguinity, shall participate, directly or indirectly, in the distribution of any relief or other goods to the victims of the calamity or disaster.”

He said that according to a PDRRMO report, the towns of Compostela (P165 million), Borbon (P8 million), and Tabogon (P5 million) suffered the most damage as a result of the continuing dry spell caused by the weather phenomenon called El Niño.

Other crops damaged were corn (P27.5 million), vegetables (P8.6 million), and banana (P875,000), among others, while damage to livestock and poultry products in Cebu province has reached over P6.7 million.

In Cebu City, City Agriculturist Joelito Baclayon said the number of affected farmers has increased from 317 to already 917 as of yesterday.

Affected assorted vegetables like eggplant, string beans, radish, sweet pepper, cabbage, tomato, and ampalaya have also increased to more than 1,356 metric tons compared to just 667 metric tons last month.

“Amount nato last month, we only had affected P13 million but right now niabot na siyag P32 million with a 19.1 million pesos total value of damage on crops as of this day,” Baclayon said.

He, however, assured that there is still continuous production of crops.

“As you can observe atung weekly na tabo sa City Hall naa gihapon makita na ninyo, ug mga areas na naa gihapon production na ma-sustain,” Baclayon said.

 As to the water caravan tomorrow, he said their priority is the delivery of water to Barangay Budlaan.

“Ang atong gi-una kay ang mga areas wa gyuy sufficient na tubig na makuhaan ilabi na layo kayo ilang farm,” Baclayon said.

There are now 40 areas in Cebu that are experiencing low pressure to no water pressure each day as water supply continues to decrease.

The Metro Cebu Water District said daily production is now down to 189,071 cubic meters per day from 229,000 cubic meters per day as of April 25.

MCWD Public Relations Division Head Edwin Corraos said residents of the affected areas are requested to store water from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. enough for their daily usage.

The public was also asked to conserve water by regularly checking their faucets, toilets and pipes for leaks and have these repaired immediately. They were also encouraged to immediately report leaks to the water district.

A team from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA)-Mactan is now constantly observing and monitoring the sky over the provinces of Bohol and Cebu in attempt to seed clouds and trigger a much-needed downpour.

The weather bureau, though, only has two weeks starting yesterday for the scheduled cloud seeding operations.— (FREEMAN)

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