Cebu City awaits hearing for Comelec exemption on release of financial aid
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City government is still awaiting the response of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on its request for an exemption in the ban for release of financial aid at least for Typhoon Odette victims.
Lawyer Gerry Carillo, chairperson of the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said they had submitted the request at the Comelec national office, but he found out that there were at least a hundred to thousands similar exemptions filed by other local government units (LGUs).
With this, all these requests will be set on a hearing, only one per case, and on that hearing, it will be decided if the request for exemption will be granted.
“One hearing resolved naman dayon nila. We are awaiting the notice sa Comelec kanus-a nila ischedule ang hearing,” said Carillo, who was earlier tasked by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama to submit the request for an exemption on the financial aid to Odette victims at the Comelec national office.
(One hearing can be resolved immediately. We area awaiting the notice of the Comelec when they can schedule the hearing.)
However, the Comelec already said that generally ongoing programs of financial aid releases would be exempted from the Comelec ban.
Since the Odette financial aid has been released since January 2022, there is a high chance the exemption will be granted by the Comelec.
“Kung proven na ang proseso, unya nasugdan na og pangpanghatag, that can also continue. Kanang Odette nga distribution, hopefully that can also continue because we started before the Comelec ban on March 25, ” said Carillo.
(If the process is proven and the distribution has already started, then that can also continue. The Odette distribution, hopefully, that can also continue because we started before the Comelec ban on March 25.)
Still, the mayor has instructed to go through the proper process to avoid legal repercussions for the release of the financial aid.
Karla Henry-Amman, spokesperson of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, said in her Friday press briefing that the mayor was appealing for patience from the beneficiaries.
“As we said, actions are already being undertaken to get the exemption,” she said.
So far, the city has released over P306 million to beneficiaries in the South District and P286,000 in the North District from the original P500 million budget allocated by the City Council shortly after Typhoon Odette.
An additional P400 million was passed by the Cebu City Council in the Supplemental Budget No. 1 and Henry-Amman said more beneficiaries were set to receive their financial aid once the ban would be lifted.
“We want to assure everyone that ayuda (financial aid) will be distributed once we get an exemption, or if not, after the elections,” she added.
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