Survivors’ aid cost CH P32M-A A +A
Saturday, March 1, 2014
THE Cebu City Government spent more than P41 million for emergency assistance after all the disasters that occurred in 2013.
The amount, about one-fifth of the City’s total calamity funds for the year, paid for food, housing supplies, cash assistance and temporary shelter, among others.
But an official of the Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS) said the P41 million could have been used for other purposes, had households and barangays been better prepared for disasters.
Apart from a powerful earthquake and super typhoon Yolanda in the last three months of the year, these disasters also struck: 48 fires that broke out in 33 barangays and the collision of two ships near Talisay City in August.
Based on the records of the DSWS, the bulk of the P41 million, amounting to P31.7 million, was spent to help the fire victims.
It paid for the standard three days worth of packed meals that DSWS gives to the affected families (P7.65 million), relief goods (P6.54 million), housing materials (P3.58 million), financial assistance (P13.5 million) and tents (P335,699.25) that served as temporary shelter.
The fires occurred in Barangays Bulacao, Sudlon II, Basak San Nicolas, Budlaan, Capitol Site, Hipodromo, Talamban, Kamputhaw, Guadalupe, Quiot, Tabunan, Kalunasan, Sambag II, Apas, and Banilad.
The others occurred in Barangays Sudlon I, Ermita, Pulangbato, Inayawan, Tisa, Labangon, Duljo Fatima, Calamba, Mambaling, Sawang Calero, T. Padilla, Kamagayan, Cambinocot, Tejero, Basak San Nicolas, Carreta, Kinasang-an and Parian.
After the collision of the passenger vessel MV St. Thomas Aquinas and cargo vessel MV Sulpicio Express Siete last August, the City spent some P1.12 million.
The amount covered the packed meals given to the rescued passengers and the series of command conferences that City Hall conducted.
After the earthquake last Oct. 15, the City shelled out a total of P3,975,350. The bulk paid for the packed meals (P3 million) given to those who were evacuated after their houses were damaged, the purchase of housing materials (P402,000) and financial assistance (P510,000).
There were 79 families in 18 barangays of the city whose houses were destroyed (15 families) or damaged (64 families) by the earthquake.
For those with destroyed houses, DSWS gave P10,000 in financial assistance, while P5,000 went to each family whose house was damaged.
These families are residents of Barangay Buhisan, Bonbon, Cogon Pardo, Calamba, Kinasang-an, Mambaling, Suba, San Nicolas Proper, Pulangbato and Punta Princesa.
The others are residents of T. Padilla, San Roque, Sawang Calero, Parian, Pasil, Guba, Buot Taup and Bacayan.
The P41 million that the City spent was charged to its P202.12-million calamity fund for 2013, particularly the 30 percent quick response budget of P60.63 million. The 70 percent of the calamity fund amounting to P141.48 million was used for disaster preparedness.
In a news conference yesterday, DSWS chief Dr. Ester Concha said the City could have used the P41 million for other purposes, had the City, barangays and the public prepared better for disasters.
For fires, Concha believes the City should maximize the use of its disaster preparedness budget to widen interior roads in the barangays.
She said there are areas in the city that are very congested particularly Duljo Fatima, Carreta, Mambaling, Calamba and Paril, among others.
“Naay ubang interior roads nga ang tawo ra gyud makaagi so maglisud ug sud ang fire trucks kung naay sunog (Some interior roads are so narrow that only persons can use them and fire trucks have a hard time reaching these areas),” she said.
In the present set-up, Concha said the City widens interior roads only after fires.
What to do
For earthquakes and typhoons, Concha said there is a need for the City to help barangays activate and improve their barangay quick response teams.
She added that the City should educate all its constituents on what to do and what not to do during typhoons and earthquakes, and teach them to be vigilant.
In a separate interview, Councilor Roberto Cabarrubias, chairperson of the City Council’s committee on infrastructure, echoed the statements of Concha.
But for fires, he added that there is a need for the City to educate the public against illegal wiretapping.
“This is because 70 percent of the causes of fire in the city are related to electrical misuse,” he said.
For typhoons and earthquakes, Cabarrubias said there is a need for the public to do its share of preparations by making their homes disaster-proof.
On the part of the City, he said there is a need to ensure that houses and buildings follow the standards set in the National Building Code of the Philippines.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 01, 2014.