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Mayors plead for funds, told to submit papers first

/ 12:16 AM February 21, 2014

CEBU CITY—More than 100 days after Super Typhoon “Yolanda” all but wiped out towns in northern Cebu province, two mayors are wondering aloud where the funds donated by foreign governments and groups have gone, as their towns have yet to receive help from the national government.

At an open forum with officials of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR), the two mayors expressed frustration at what they said was the lack of funding support for their towns from the national government.

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Jose Esgana, mayor of Sta. Fe, said his town had started building shelters but lacked funds.

Ricky Ramirez, mayor of Medellin, said his town had not received anything from the national government.

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“Where are the foreign donations?” Ramirez said at the forum.

Ramirez said the national government should just release the funds directly to local government units.

“It’s like a contest as to who will be the first to recover from Yolanda,” Ramirez said, adding that his people were still waiting for the P5,000 housing assistance promised by the National Housing Authority.

“The local government is trying to do as much as it can,” Ramirez said.

However, Joseph Ranola, PARR public sector chief, said the delay in the release of funds to the towns was partly the fault of the local government units (LGUs).

He said that while the national government was ready to provide the funds, local government units in northern Cebu had yet to submit detailed rehabilitation programs.

At a meeting at the Cebu provincial capitol, Ranola and lawyer Karen Jimeno, PARR communications director, explained to local government officials how the PARR works.

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Ranola said the national government was committed to provide funds for the rehabilitation of 15 towns and a city in northern Cebu devastated by Yolanda, but LGUs must coordinate rehabilitation efforts with the PARR.

One basic requirement for LGUs seeking funds, he said, is a detailed assessment of damage that will help the PARR determine how much each LGU needs.

Ranola said the funds would be given to LGUs that have completed the requirements.

Task Force Paglig-on, which was created by the Cebu provincial government to oversee rehabilitation efforts, reported that the towns and a city struck by Yolanda needed at least P7.2 billion for shelter.

Baltz Tribunalo, a member of the task force, said in a report that the amount did not include the P1 billion needed to buy land for relocation sites.

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TAGS: News, Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery, Regions, Super Typhoon Yolanda
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