With only 2 officials, Barangay Ermita cannot access calamity fund to help fire victims
CEBU CITY, Philippines— With just two officials left to run Barangay Ermita in Cebu City, the barangay government has been having problem accessing its calamity fund to assist the victims of the huge fire that hit the village early this week.
The remaining officials of the barangay are still hopeful that their calamity fund will still be released soon, despite the lack of members in the barangay to complete the barangay council and to compose its bids and awards committee (BAC) that will approve all fund releases for purchases of items needed by the fire victims.
Efe Rupinta, acting barangay captain of Ermita, said they are waiting for the guidance of the Department of Interior and Local Government in Central Visayas (DILG-7) on how they can access the calamity funds with only herself and Sangguniang Kabataan chairman Rica Jaime as signatories.
The barangay chief of Ermita, Mark Rizaldy Miral, together with his councilmen Antonieto Flores, Ryan Jay Rosas, Ali Tamundo, Domingo Ando, Maria Buanghug and Wilbert Flores, were meted a one-year suspension in July last year by DILG-7 after the court found them guilty of the grave misconduct case filed by former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Visayas (PDEA-7) Director Yogi Filemon Ruiz.
Ruiz lodged the complaint against the officials for allegedly not cooperating during an anti-drug operation of the anti-narcotics agency in the village in 2017.
With the barangay’s calamity fund now badly needed because of the February 5 fire that hit three of its sitios and displaced over 2,500 individuals, Rupinta said she also written to President Rodrigo Duterte, who has the sole authority to appoint BAC members so that the barangay may be able to use their budget for the expenses in the barangay most especially in the case of emergencies and disasters like fire.
“Nag hope mi nga mag-appoint si President Duterte ug BAC members aron dili na mi maglisod ug kuha sa budget sa sunod,” said Rupinta.
Rupinta said the barangay’s P465,000 calamity budget will pay for the cost for additional food and other needs of the fire victims now housed in the barangay’s gymnasium and at the unfinished Unit 2 building of the nearby Carbon Public Market.
Rupinta said she was looking into tapping the unused calamity funds for the last five years of the barangay, which she said can still be used if properly requested from the Cebu city government.
According to Rupinta, the barangay still has about P500,000 in unused calamity funds to spend on housing materials and financial aid for the victims.
However, with only two signatories, the City Budget Office might not release the budget, she said.
Rupinta is counting on the city council to help the barangay.
Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella earlier said that the council will hold a special session tomorrow, Friday, February 8, to discuss the course of actions that the city can do to help Ermita,/elb
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