Two Mambaling chiefs’ dispute may stall declaring state of calamity in barangay
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The fire victims of Barangay Mambaling will have to wait for the state of calamity to be declared in their barangay following the fire that razed 105 houses in Sitio Puntod displacing 156 families or 615 individuals since the dispute between their two barangay chiefs have not yet been resolved.
Gines Abellana, elected barangay chief, was suspended on January 9, 2019 by the Cebu City Council for abuse of authority following a complaint of four barangay councilors, who claimed that Abellana allegedly withheld their honoraria.
The next day, January 10, first councilor, Anna Marie Palomo, took over as acting barangay chief.
Abellana made an appeal to the Office of the President to lift his suspension order, which he said meant that his suspension was stalled because of this appeal and he remained to be the incumbent chief of Mambaling.
Both officials have been serving as chiefs in the last four months, but neither have been able to conduct official functions at the barangay council, with members divided between the chiefs, and they could not reach a proper quorum during sessions.
Palomo, who is recognized by the Cebu City outgoing Mayor Tomas Osmeña as the legitimate chief, said that she would be conducting an emergency session on Sunday, June 2, for the declaration of the state of calamity.
The state of calamity declaration will allow the barangay to tap on its calamity fund and provide for the needs of the fire victims.
However, the declaration of the state of calamity may be stalled if quorum will not be reached during the emergency session.
Consequently, Abellana said that he would be conducting his own session on Monday, June 3, to discuss the declaration of the state of calamity.
He also said that he would be providing 5 kilos of rice per family as aid to the fire victims.
Palomo said that even if Abellana would hold a session successfully, the declaration might not be considered by the Cebu City Council because of his suspension, further stalling the access to the calamity funds.
For this reason, Palomo is seeking the help of the Cebu City Council to intervene with the current situation and look into declaring a state of calamity on behalf of Mambaling.
“We will be asking the help of the city council because our victims will need the help. The city council can declare a state of calamity for Mambaling in their power but the funds will come from the city itself and the barangay calamity funds still will not be accessed,” said Palomo.
Palomo said she was hoping that her session would reach a quorum so the calamity funds could be easily be processed, and this could be used to buy building materials and additional food for the victims.
She said she was also hoping that the city council could help them in their goal to provide for the families who lost their homes to the fire. /dbs
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