Bohol mayor to Mar Roxas: Scold yourself
TAGBILARAN CITY—A day after scolding mayors in Bohol for being unprepared to implement rehabilitation projects despite the availability of funds, Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II got an earful from one mayor who blamed the presumptive Liberal Party presidential candidate instead.
Roxas, said Maribojoc Mayor Leoncio Evasco Jr., “should not blame the mayors.”
Evasco was defending mayors of two other towns in Bohol—Clarin and Sagbayan—who were scolded by Roxas at a meeting of the provincial disaster risk reduction and management council here on Wednesday.
Roxas was angry at the mayors for failing to submit their programs of works and estimates that details how they planned to carry out rehabilitation plans.
Evasco, who styles himself as a no-nonsense official like his friend Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, said Roxas should scold himself.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), according to Evasco, did not immediately release the guidelines for a program called Bohol Earthquake Assistance (BEA). These would have helped mayors plan their rehabilitation programs, Evasco said.
The mayors, Evasco said, could not just submit their rehabilitation plans because they are required to follow the DILG guidelines.
The guidelines, however, were released only on Aug. 1, almost two months after Roxas and Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad turned over P2.4 billion in funds for BEA on June 6 to Gov. Edgar Chatto.
Evasco said had Roxas brought with him the guidelines when he handed the check for P2.4 billion, the mayors would have been able to complete their rehabilitation plans.
Bulk of the P2.4 billion would be spent on repair of 1,066 government structures or construction of new ones in 43 towns and this city. At least P71 million would be for salaries of 15 engineers needed to review the mayors’ rehabilitation programs.
Ma. Loisella Lucino, Bohol DILG director, said her office received a copy of “Guidelines in the Implementation of the Bohol Earthquake Assistance (BEA)-DILG Fund for the affected LGUs in the province of Bohol” on Aug. 1.
Lucino said some mayors submitted their programs but these were returned for lack of attachments.
She said only 14 of the 1,066 programs submitted by mayors had been completed and approved for implementation.
These were from the towns of Dauis, Duero, Valencia, Buenavista and Tubigon.
Clarin Mayor Allen Piezas said he submitted four proposals that are being reviewed by the provincial management team composed of engineers from DILG, provincial engineering office and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
He still lacks eight programs since Clarin was supposed to submit 15.
Roxas was in Bohol on Wednesday to attend ceremonies marking the first anniversary of the killer earthquake that killed 211 people in Bohol and displaced more than 95,000 families.
Money no problem
He met mayors and expressed surprise when he learned that not a single municipal hall had been repaired or rebuilt out of 31 that were either destroyed or damaged during the earthquake.
“The money is not the problem. The problem is who?” Roxas told the mayors.
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