Cebu City mayor withdraws P12-M aid to quake-hit areas in Leyte, Surigao
CEBU CITY — Mayor Tomas Osmeña said he was withdrawing at least P12 million worth of assistance program to the earthquake-stricken areas of Ormoc City and a town in Surigao del Norte province, citing the lack of interest from officials in these areas.
Instead, Osmeña said he would give the assistance to families of soldiers who fought and died during the five-month battle with terrorists in Marawi City.
“I am canceling the project because they are not interested. They are not doing anything. They don’t appreciate our money; never mind,” he said.
The city pledged to give P10 million to Ormoc City and P2 million to San Francisco town in Surigao del Norte when these areas were hit by earthquakes on Aug. 23 and Feb. 10, respectively. These donations were covered by two resolutions.
But Osmeña said he was “insulted” by the lack of interest of the city government of Ormoc in processing the papers to transfer the assistance.
“I am taking this as an insult. We are trying to be nice to them. We are trying to assist them. We’ve always helped Ormoc during their flooding (incidents) years ago. We are not appreciated. Ayaw na lang (Never mind),” the mayor said.
He said the city government of Ormoc was supposed to pass a resolution for the donation. Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez was also scheduled to visit the city but this was postponed.
“I said, ‘OK they don’t have to come here, but we need a resolution.’ But (there is) nothing. I would like to report that to the people of Ormoc. I don’t know what their mayor and city government is like,” he added.
Sought for comment, Ormoc Councilor Rolando Villasencio, who is acting mayor in the absence of Gomez, asked Osmeña to reconsider, saying the city government was processing the papers for the donation.
Villasencio said the Ormoc government received the memorandum of agreement (MOA) via courier on Oct. 30. The MOA, he said, was reviewed by the Ormoc legal office on Nov. 4 and was passed on to the city council on Nov. 7.
Villasencio said discussion of the MOA had been delayed by the series of holidays.
“By next week, it will be approved. It (MOA) will be [sent] back to Cebu City. We are working on it because it is for the city,” Villasencio said.
In the case of the Surigao donation, the P2-million aid for San Francisco was intended for the repair of government buildings and water systems in the town.
But since Osmeña did not receive any update from the local government, despite the donation being approved by the city council, he said the amount would also be transferred to the fundraising event for the soldiers’ families.
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