Aquino allows use of 75 rubber boats tied to graft probe for flood victimsBy Matikas Santos
MANILA, Philippines — President Benigno Aquino III said Tuesday that 75 rubber boats that the Office of the Ombudsman previously confiscated for their alleged questionable acquisition have been released for use in helping the flood victims.
Speaking at a press briefing at the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management (NDRRMC), Aquino said the Ombudsman agreed to allow the use these boats that were supposed to have been acquired in the aftermath of tropical storm “Ondoy” in September 2009 when Luzon, including Metro Manila, was inundated with floods that claimed hundreds of lives and destroyed property worth millions of pesos.
The Philippine National Police purchased the 75 rubber boats in 2009 for P131.5 million.
Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo had questioned the purchase, along with the 93 outboard motors. The equipment were found to be incompatible with the needs of the PNP and were this deemed unusable.
Perpetrators of the alleged anomalous transaction are facing criminal charges.
In the same NDRRMC briefing Tuesday, Aquino also said that based on reports by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), an expected high tide would increase the water level in Marikina by .6 or .7 meters but may go down around 7 p.m. during the low tide.
Those present were Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino, Pagasa Administrator Nathaniel Servando, NDRRMC undersecretary Benito Ramos, and Social Welfare Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman.
The briefing was at the NDRRMC head office in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.