Cebu Mayor Michael Rama says he has political will to clear coastlines

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

REP. Benhur Salimbangon (Cebu, 4th district) yesterday appealed for support for his “Adopt a Family Program” to help typhoon Yolanda survivors.

This, as Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama wants two National Government agencies to give local government units (LGUs) funding so the “no-build zone” policy within the 40 meters of the coastline will be implemented.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said the “no-build zone” policy will protect residents from future typhoons.

In his regular news conference yesterday, Rama said DENR together with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) should support LGUs.

“Naay kwarta ang national, ila nang inaug diri (The National Government has money).

They should know where the money should be placed. They should give logistical support before another malady and condemnation will come,” said Rama, apparently referring to the alleged misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund.

The mayor said clearing the coastline is long overdue. He said he has the political will to implement it, but DENR and DPWH should do their share.


Speaking before the 888 News Forum at Marco Polo Plaza, Salimbangon said a person who wants to adopt a homeless family may choose the name of his intended beneficiary from his list of survivors or from the list of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Once a donor has chosen a family beneficiary, the donor should give them at least 10 pieces galvanized iron for house roofing, plywood and wood for walling and ceiling, and nails.

“This is a temporary solution that I’ve seen so far. People cannot go back to normal life without a house. Let us help them,” Salimbangon said.

He said another problem is money for labor.

However, DSWD 7 Assistant Regional Director Marcial Fernandez said labor cost may be shouldered by his agency through the “Emergency Shelter Assistance Program” where a family will receive P6,000.

Fernandez said this is on top of the “cash for work” program of DSWD for typhoon survivors.

Fernandez said DSWD can coordinate with Salimbangon on the Adopt-a-Family endeavor to hasten the rehabilitation of the areas devastated by Yolanda.

Salimbangon said that House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte had called him tp ask why he failed to attend Congress sessions for three weeks now. He said he couldn’t leave his constituents who are homeless.

He said Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad urged Salimbangon to collate the reports on the extent of typhoon damages from all municipalities in the fourth district and submit it to him so it can be funded under the P14.6 billion supplemental budget passed by the Lower House recently.

On the other hand, Barangay Captain Joel Garganera of Tinago, Cebu City said everybody must unite to move on.

“I understand that DSWD officials and workers are also away from their families just because they are helping the typhoon survivors,” Garganera said.

He said that in the evacuation center in Tinago, the survivors received full support from the private sector and not from DSWD.

“With the help of private donors, we feed them, we facilitate the transport for those who want to move to other places, and we shouldered their fare and pocket money,” Garganera said.

On relocation, Rama said the funds to be given to the LGUs will be used to relocate families who are living within the 40 meters of the coastline.

In Cebu City, 16 out of the 80 barangays are coastal. They include Barangays Mabolo, Tejero, Tinago, Inayawan, Carreta, San Roque, Sto. Niño, Ermita, Pasil, Suba, Sawang Calero, Duljo Fatima, Mamabaling, Cogon Pardo, Basak San Nicolas and Basak Pardo.

Lawyer Janesis Ponce, head of the City’s Land Management Council (LMC), wants DENR to review property grants or titles that may have been “inadvertently issued” in the past.

Ponce also wants DENR to impose an “indefinite moratorium” on all miscellaneous sales application by private individuals or entities over alienable and disposable public lands.

He said such public lands can be used by LGUs for the relocation of the families that may be affected by DENR’s policy.

Lastly, Ponce is asking DENR to facilitate the transfer of the remaining public lands that are inalienable and disposable to LGUs.

“This way, LGUs will be spared from the tremendous expense of having to purchase lands for the relocation of the affected families,” he said.

The Capitol, meanwhile, will help provide relocation sites to families who will be affected of the policy.

Gov. Hilario Davide III said he will sign an executive memorandum creating a task force to plan and implement rehabilitation in areas affected by typhoon Yolanda.

Yesterday, Davide received feedbacks from some mayors that they are implementing the policy.

Davide said part of the functions of the task force is to advise residents near the shoreline to move out.

In Daanbantayan, Davide said, the Province has a five-hectare property behind the Cebu Technological University that can be used as relocation site.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 04, 2013.

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