Up to P20,000 financial assistance for fire victims in Cebu City pushed
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City Council’s Committee on Social Services wants to set the amount of financial assistance for fire victims between P5,000 to P20,000.
The Committee on Social Services, in its comment and response to the proposed ordinance of City Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera, said it agrees with the intention of the resolution that there is a need to increase the amount of cash assistance for those victims of fire and calamity, taking into account the present inflation rate.
But the committee, headed by Councilor Pancrasio Esparis, differed with Pesquera on the amount of increase.
Pesquera’s proposed ordinance entitled “An ordinance amending section 3 of the City Ordinance no. 1676, otherwise known as “an ordinance providing for a relief operations program extending assistance, financial or otherwise, to victims of fire or conflagration and other calamities” was referred to the Committee for comments and recommendations.
The proposed ordinance seeks to specifically set the amount of financial assistance for fire victims as follows: P15,000 each for house owner; P7,500 each for house renter; P5,000 each for house sharer; P3,000 each for a bonafide lodger, and P3,000 for an absentee homeowner.
The Committee resolved that house owners affected by the fire should receive P20,000 each; house renter-P10,000; house sharer- P10,000; bonafide lodger P5,000, and absentee homeowner-P5,000 each.
The Committee said that the P20,000 ceiling given upon recommendation of an appropriate body has been the practice of giving financial aid to fire victims during the effectiveness of various executive orders of former mayors of the City.
According to the Committee, the late City Mayor Edgardo Labella, through his Executive Order (EO) No. 048 series of 2020, set the amount of financial assistance at P20,000 for owners of homes, houses, and apartments whether the damage was total or partial.
The same EO of the late Labella also provides that owners of slightly damaged houses are to receive P10,000 each; P10,000 for renters, leasees, sharers, or tenants of structures regardless of structure.
The Committee also furthered the former Mayor Tomas Osmeña, in his EO 014 series of 2016, set the cash aid amount at P20,000 for owners of houses and apartments whether the damage was only partial or total; P10,000 each for owners of slightly destroyed structures, and P10,000 for renters, leasees, sharers, or tenants.
City Ordinance no. 1759 dated April 30, 1999, approved during the administration of the late Mayor Alvin Garcia, set the financial assistance at P6,000 each for house owners; P3,000 each for house renters; P1,500 for house sharers; P1,200 for bonafide lodgers, and P1,000 each for absentee homeowners.
“Clearly, the amount was reasonable at the time the ordinance was approved, which was in 1999. The subsequent executive orders of the mayors wanted to address the changing time,” the Committee said.
To recall, the City Council, in July 2022, approved with an amendment the proposed budget of the Committee on Social Services for the cash and in-kind assistance for the victims of the fire that hit Sitio Sto. Niño in Barangay Quiot, Cebu City, last July 7, 2022.
The Council decided to reduce the amount of financial aid to be offered to the Quiot fire victims from the original sum of P1,640,000 to merely P820,000.
This came after the Council decided to follow the existing resolution setting the guidelines for the release of cash assistance to calamity victims, setting aside an executive order (EO) passed during the 15th City Council which backed the increasing or doubling of the City’s financial assistance amount for calamity victims.
Members of the Committee on Social Services are councilors Edgardo Labella II, Donaldo Hontiveros, Philip Zafra, and Noel Eleuterio Wenceslao.
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