Comelec: Red Cross may work with gov’t, other aid groups
MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday rejected the Philippine Red Cross’ (PRC) request to take over the entire process of distribution of aid to residents of earthquake-hit Bohol during the election period in the province.
“The Red Cross wants to take over the entire process, but do they have the manpower and capability to do it?” said Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes in a press briefing.
He said the PRC sent the poll body a letter asking that the national government turn over to them all public funds and publicly funded relief goods meant for Bohol in accordance with the Omnibus Election Code.
But Brillantes said they wanted to continue with the current system of distribution of aid, which involves the national government, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the provincial, municipal and barangay government units.
The poll body earlier issued a resolution ruling that “all releases in relation to the relief and rehabilitation efforts in the province of Bohol, normally or usually coursed through the Department of Social Welfare and Development and any other office/department of the government performing similar functions, shall be turned over to and administered and disbursed by the PRC, subject to the supervision of the Commission on Audit.”
However, “considering that the commission has no knowledge of the capability of the PRC to fully carry out the provision of the above paragraph and so as not to prejudice and/or interrupt the ongoing rehabilitation and relief operations, the PRC shall administer and disburse such releases for the said activities through the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), including the local disaster risk reduction and management council, and in accordance with the existing relief mechanism.”
The resolution also prohibits barangay election candidates and their relatives from joining in the relief work.
Based on the resolution, the PRC will supervise the NDRRMC in distributing public funds and publicly funded relief goods in disaster areas.
“The PRC will administer but they will administer through the management council,” Brillantes said.
“If it [PRC] thinks it is capable, we think it’s not. In the meantime, since the election period starts tomorrow (Saturday), let’s follow the resolution first,” he added.
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