Disaster funds’ ‘misuse’ to be studied; brgys urged to follow calamity guidelines

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - Reporter/CDN Digital | February 24,2020 - 04:02 PM

The window view of a three-storey structure showing the overall destruction of the fire to the Sitio Panagdait in Barangay Kasambagan Cebu City.

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City government will be studying the Commission on Audit (COA) audit observation memorandum (AOM) stating that the city has wrongly used the quick response fund (QRF) for disasters that did not meet the conditions of a state of calamity.

On Monday, Ferbuary 24, 2020, Mayor Edgardo Labella said he would be calling the attention of the City Disaster Risk Reduction Office (CDDRMO) on why the state of calamity were endorsed to the council if the barangays affected did not meet the condition for such.

Eleven barangays have declared state of calamities for fire incidents from January to October 2019, but the damage did not qualify for a state of calamity.

“I will have to call the attention of the disaster group because they are the ones who pass a resolution to use the funds through the city council,” said Labella.

He also encouraged the city council to look into these matters, and why these conditions were missed during the declaration of the state of calamities in the 11 barangays that COA had mentioned.

Councilor Raymond Garcia, City Council’s majority floor leader and committee on budget and finance chairperson, already said they would be studying the COA memorandum to see how the council should act upon it.

It was also forwarded to the CDRRMO for review.

Read: COA to Cebu City: Conditions not met for P20.8M taken from quick response funds for fire victims

QRF guidelines

Labella reminded the barangay officials that there were corresponding guidelines to declaring a state of calamity; thus, accessing the QRF of the disaster funds.

COA said that a state of calamity might be declared in 20 percent of the population of the barangay or city had been affected.

The city can also declare state of calamity if 40 percent of livelihood has been destroyed; major roads or bridges have been destroyed or become impassable; widespread destruction of agriculture, livestock, and aquaculture; and disruption of utilities such as electricity, water, communication, and transport that cannot be restored within one week.

“There are certain guidelines that have to be complied with (in declaring state of calamity). We will be having a seminar on all barangay officials and city officials on public accountability and the use of certain funds,” said Labella.

The mayor said the city would have to study how to rectify the wrongly sourced fund and the city was hoping for some kind of disallowance.

He said he would trust that the city would be given a chance to explain by COA through due process. /dbs

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TAGS: City Disaster Risk Reduction, COA, Labella, Management Office

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