Mar­got ques­tions ad­di­tional P9K cash aid for fire vic­tims

CEBU CITY BUD­GET HEAR­INGS

Cebu Daily News - - NEWS - by Jose Santino S. Bu­na­chita RE­PORTER

A pro­posal to give fire vic­tims an ad­di­tional P9,000 worth of fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance start­ing next year was met with skep­ti­cism by the Cebu City Coun­cil’s com­mit­tee on bud­get and fi­nance.

Dur­ing yes­ter­day’s last day of a series of bud­get hear­ings for the pro­posed P6.3 bil­lion 2018 an­nual bud­get, the com­mit­tee found the pro­posal to be too much con­sid­er­ing that qual­i­fied fire vic­tims are al­ready given an in­creased P20,000 fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance from the orig­i­nal amount of P10,000 just this year.

Ac­cord­ing to Cebu City Disas­ter Risk Re­duc­tion and Man­age­ment Of­fice (CCDRRMO) head Nagiel Baña­cia, aside from the P20,000, they planned to give a P3,000 monthly rental sub­sidy for three months to fire vic­tims in the city.

“Our jus­ti­fi­ca­tion is num­ber one, we will no longer be us­ing schools as re­lo­ca­tion sites so there will be no dis­rup­tion of classes and we no longer have to re­pair class­rooms. We want to do away with the old sys­tem of camp man­age­ment,” he ex­plained.

At the same time, he said this will give the city more time to prop­erly re­build or re­block fire sites as vic­tims will no longer be al­lowed to have makeshift homes near their burnt homes.

Baña­cia’s plan which trans­lates to about P30 mil­lion will form part of CCDRRMO’s P55 mil­lion bud­get pro­posal for re­lief and re­cov­ery next year.

CCDRRMO’s to­tal bud­get for 2018 is P305.4 mil­lion which is the man­dated five per­cent of the city’s to­tal an­nual bud­get.

How­ever, Coun­cilor Mar­garita Os­meña, head of the com­mit­tee on bud­get and fi­nance, ques­tioned the pro­posal’s vi­a­bil­ity.

“Isn’t it enough that we give them P20,000 to man­age to do what­ever? We can use the money to build some­thing more per­ma­nent like an evac­u­a­tion cen­ter,” she said.

Baña­cia ex­plained that cur­rently, even when the city es­tab­lishes tem­po­rary evac­u­a­tion cen­ters in schools or barangay sports com­plexes where there is wa­ter, com­fort rooms, and even packed meals for three days, some fam­i­lies still refuse to stay there.

But Os­meña stood pat that the city should not sup­port

th­ese fire vic­tims when they are be­ing choosy by giv­ing them even more fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance es­pe­cially if the city had no way of mak­ing sure that the money will re­ally be used by them for rent.

Mayor To­mas Os­meña dis­agreed with Coun­cilor Os­meña in a talk with re­porters, Mon­day.

The mayor said that fire vic­tims should be given the free­dom to use the money that will be given to them as as­sis­tance by the city.

“So what if they don’t use it for rental? It’s for them. We give it to them in case they pay rental. Why will we sue them if they don’t use it for rental?” he told re­porters yes­ter­day.

“Th­ese peo­ple are vic- tims. Let’s just give them money. If they want to play tong-its (a rum­my­type card game) with it, that’s their money. Let them es­tab­lish their own pri­or­ity,” he added.

Aside from the ad­di­tional fi­nan­cial aid for fire vic­tims, the CCDRRMO is also set­ting aside P91.6 mil­lion for its quick re­sponse fund.

Other pro­pos­als in- clude disas­ter re­sponse and res­cue equip­ment (P28 mil­lion), med­i­cal equip­ment, life sav­ing and mon­i­tors for am­bu­lances (P2 mil­lion), city­wide early warn­ing sys­tem (P10 mil­lion), and re­cov­ery and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion in­fra­struc­ture (P28.6 mil­lion).

The CCDRRMO was the last City Hall of­fice that pre­sented its bud­get pro­posal for next year.

Ac­cord­ing to Coun­cilor Os­meña, they will now be work­ing on the fi­nal bud­get that will then be pre­sented to the en­tire Cebu City Coun­cil.

She hoped to al­ready in­tro­duce the fi­nal ap­proved bud­get dur­ing the coun­cil’s next reg­u­lar ses­sion on Novem­ber 7.

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