Cebu News

P7 million for Negros Towns and Cities: Garcia requests council to hasten aid approval

Iris Hazel Mascardo - The Freeman
P7 million for Negros Towns and Cities: Garcia requests council to hasten aid approval
Residents harvest vegetables near their house at the foot of Mount Kanlaon volcano covered in thick clouds in a village in Canlaon, Negros Occidental province, central Philippines on June 4, 2024, a day after the volcano erupted.
AFP / Ferdinand Edralin

CEBU, Philippines — Following the Cebu City Council’s decision to defer approval of the resolution approving the P7-million assistance for Negros localities affected by Mt. Kanlaon’s eruption last June 3, Acting Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia yesterday urged that the legislative body act fast in allocating the amount.

This came after the City Council, in its special session last Tuesday afternoon, did not approve the financial assistance over some issues on the fund source it would be charged from.

Garcia said he understands the City Council’s action, him being its presiding officer for quite some time, but he would like that the body would not dilly-dally in making its decision.

“And ako lang, I have the commitment that we will really have an amount to be given kaning atong mga less fortunate LGUs nga naigo tawon sa pagbuto sa mount canlaon,” he said.

“Hangyo lang ko nga papaspasan sad gyud nato,” he added, while further saying that he would personally hand the financial assistance to the concerned cities and municipalities in Negros island.

City Councilor Joel Garganera sponsored the allocation resolution for the financial assistance to Bago City, La Carlota City, La Castellana, Moises Padilla, Pontevedra, of Negros Occidental and Canlaon of Negros Oriental, charging the P7 million to the Annual Investment Plan (AIP) of the Local Disasters Reduction Management Fund 2022.

City Councilor Nestor Archival, Sr., however, questioned why the amount is charged to the AIP instead of the city’s disaster fund.

“Naa man tay budget sa disaster, nganong magsige man ta’g kuha og laing mga budget?” Archival asked his colleagues.

City Councilor Phillip Zafra, who had presented the resolution on behalf of Garganera, explained that under the resolving clause, the disaster funds will be charged to the prior years, specifically 2022.

City Councilor Noel Wenceslao further expounded that for the disaster fund to be approved, the AIP should be approved first.

City Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera also said it is “premature” to discuss charging the amount to the AIP because it needs to be amended first to realign the funds.

She also pointed out that the resolution lacked as supporting document a damage report on the eruption of Mt. Kanlaon, which should serve as basis for the granting of the financial assistance.

“Although this has already been a practice to us that we are also extending to other LGUs…as I can see, on the report, that although there is no amount of damage, there reonly 600 people listed as affected by the eruption,” she said.

“We are giving the same amount of financial assistance and some of the LGUs, they have only very few affected individuals, and we are giving like one million (pesos) each (LGU)?” she asked.

The body then decided to return the resolution to Garganera, for him to take into consideration the recommendations made his colleagues before they tackle again the proposal.

In particular, Wenceslao suggested that the P7 million be charged to the Quick Relief Fund, which still has a standing balance of P300 million, rather than to the AIP. — /RHM (FREEMAN)

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