Cebu City Government fails to use up funds for disaster

THE Cebu City Government did not fully use the P428.3 million of its Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (LDRRMF), which would have have been useful in purchasing emergency and disaster preparedness equipment, the Commission on Audit (COA) said.

In its annual audit report for 2016, COA noted that of the P428.3-million unused LDRRMF funds from previous years up to last year, only P178.8 million ended up being used by the City.

According to the report, the funds were not optimally used by the City for reducing risk, and to improve disaster preparedness and response capabilities.

The state audit added that the procurement of various tools, machines and equipment for flooding, earthquake, fire and landslide, evacuation facilities, medical equipment and life-saving devices was not given allotment advice yet.

With this, the COA has recommended that the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CCDRRMO) strengthen its capabilities, so that it can perform the mandate of the law.

It suggested that the CCDRRMO implement a comprehensive and integrated disaster plan in coordination with the local development councils of the province, or region.

The state audit also asked the CCDRRMO to submit to the City Council an annual budget plan, which will include the proposed programming of the LDRRMF and other disaster management resources.

Sought for comment, Mayor Tomas Osmeña said the City is now using the LDRRMF to fund various programs this year.

In a text message to SunStar Cebu yesterday, Osmeña said the City Government is currently using the disaster fund to purchase a mobile breast cancer c-ray bus, a small fleet of water tankers to address climate change, and to provide cash assistance for the affected families in Barangay Sirao, who have been advised by geologists to vacate the area for good.

He said the fund is also being used to address the city’s garbage situation and to purchase the maintenance medicine of some 39,000 beneficiaries of the Lifelong Medical Assistance Program.

Asked if the funds were not tapped during disaster and calamities last year, such as fire incidents and landslides, Osmeña said he can’t answer to that.

The mayor, though, assured that more projects for preparedness and response are laid out by the administration. (RTF/SunStar Cebu)
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