THE Cagayan de Oro City Council, in a special session on Wednesday, December 27, has placed the city under a state of calamity due to the destruction caused by flooding in the wake of Tropical Storm Vinta last week.
Majority floor leader Councilor Ian Mark Nacaya said local lawmakers saw the need for the declaration so flood victims can be given immediate calamity assistance.
Nacaya and Vice Mayor Rainier Joaquin Uy initiated the plan to declare a state of calamity even without the proposal from the executive department.
None opposed the declaration.
"The City Council has to be proactive since walay proposal for the declaration nagpatawag mi ni vice mayor sa session because we need to support and assist the flood victims (The city council has to be proactive since there is no proposal for the declaration and we need to support and assist the victims)," Nacaya said.
Nacaya said “Vinta's” onslaught was devastating since thousands were displaced, houses were destroyed, water and power supply have been disrupted which affected various communities in the city.
He said through the declaration, the City Government can make use of the five percent calamity fund to support and assist the victims.
Nacaya also emphasized that victims may also avail of loan privileges from the companies where they are working, and from government agencies and banking institutions with the lowest interest.
"Mao ni ang effect sa declaration nato and ang national government sad makahatag og more support (This is the effect of the declaration and the national government can also give more support)," Nacaya said.
Nacaya stressed that everything that the City Government will be releasing will pass through legal processes and checks and balances pursuant to the guidelines.
City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD) chief Teddy Sabugaa said initial damage to infrastructure such as roads, dikes and bridges is pegged at P9.5 million.
He also said around 549 houses were totally destroyed and 403 were partially damaged, which are now under validation.
"Mao ni initial nga report sa engineering pero basin posible motaas pa ni. As to the damage sa houses under validation pa ang figure (This is just the initial report and this is expected to go up. As to damages to houses, we are validating)," Sabugaa said.
Sabugaa said highly affected villages in the city were Consolacion, Macasandig, Carmen and Balulang.
The CSWD chief added the City Government is also assessing the damage to agriculture especially in the hinterland barangays.
Sabugaa said the social welfare office is attending to the needs of the displaced families staying at the evacuation centers.
Though, he said major concern now is the water supply, the City Government is closely working with the Cagayan de Oro Water District (COWD) and the fire bureau for the rationing and delivery of water.
"Daghan naman unta gusto mobalik sa ilang balay pero ang problema kay wala man gihapon tubig (Many want to go home but can’t because there is no water)," Sabugaa said.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 28, 2017.