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Cebu City Council postpones its release


Kanlaon victims' P7M aid: Cebu City Council postpones its release. Cebu City Council holds regular session in zoom.

The Cebu City Council deferred the proposed resolution for the P7 million financial assistance, stating that attachments detailing the disaster costs and supporting documents must be included. | Screengrab from Sangguniang Panlungsod Cebu City – Secretariat/ Pia Piquero

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Cebu City Council has postponed the release of P7 million in financial assistance intended for the victims of the Kanlaon volcano eruption on Negros Island.

During a special session held via Zoom on June 11, the council deferred the proposed resolution to approve and adopt the 2022 annual investment plan (AIP), which allocates P7 million from the local disaster risk reduction and management fund as financial assistance.

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Earlier, Acting Cebu City Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia announced that the Cebu City government would be providing P7 million in financial aid to local government units (LGUs) affected by the Mt. Kanlaon eruption.

Garcia said that the aid, endorsed by the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CCDRRMC), would support at least six affected localities in Negros Oriental and Occidental.

The P7 million was intended to be distributed among six LGUs: Bago City, La Carlota, La Castellana, Moises Padilla, Pontevedra, and Canlaon City. Each of the five LGUs was to receive P1 million, while Canlaon City was to receive P2 million.

During the 40-minute special session, which started at 3 p.m., the proposed resolution authored by Councilor Joel Garganera underwent scrutiny by the council.

Councilor Nestor Archival questioned the necessity of sponsoring another annual investment plan if the government already has a budget for disaster funds.

“Meaning to say, we find another fund for this? We have a disaster budget, so why do we keep looking for additional budgets?”, Archival asked.

Councilor Noel Wenceslao, the chairman of the committee on budget and finance, explained that although it would still need verification, the disaster funds would require an approved AIP before they could be charged to the 2022 trust fund.

“That’s why we need the AIP approved before the financial assistance is approved,” Wenceslao said.

Moreover, Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera said that the session was premature. She explained that a procedure should precede the proposal of a financial assistance amount.

According to Pesquera, the matter should pass through the City Development Council (CDC) and include documentation of the damage cost in Negros Island to justify the financial allocation.

“There’s no attachment regarding the damage cost in Negros Island. There are about 600 people affected by the Mt. Kanlaon eruption. It is good to be generous, but P7 million might be too much. It would be better to provide just enough to address the situation,” Pesquera said.

Meanwhile, Councilor Mary Ann Delos Santos agreed with Pesquera and emphasized the need to be mindful and careful when dispersing public funds.

“Move to defer until the next regular session,” Councilor Philip Zafra said.

The session for the deliberation of the resolution, including the required attachments and documents, is scheduled for June 19 during the council’s regular session.

On June 3, Mt. Kanlaon, an active volcano on Negros Island, erupted for six minutes, producing a 5,000-meter plume, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported.

The steam-driven or phreatic explosion occurred at the summit vent at 6:51 p.m., which prompted Phivolcs to raise Alert Level 2.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) said on June 4 that a total of 1,888 individuals had been affected by the explosive eruption of Kanlaon Volcano.



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