CONCERNED residents of Lapu-Lapu City are asking the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas to compel Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan and other City Hall officials to provide information concerning the distribution of cash assistance for Typhoon Odette (Rai) victims.

Aside from Chan, other City Hall officials named in the letter are City Treasurer Felicitas Baguio, City Budget Officer Judith Furuta and City Accountant Helen Dungog.

But Chan, in a separate interview, believes that the letter sent to the anti-graft office was “politically motivated” and initiated by the city’s opposition bloc.

In a letter sent on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022, the group urged the Ombudsman to compel Chan and concerned officials of Lapu-Lapu City’s executive department to release information concerning the promised P5,000 cash aid, including the total amount to be distributed, sources of the aid, and the exact criteria to qualify for the assistance.

The letter included signatures of 6,942 people, identified as residents of mainland Lapu-Lapu City and its island barangays who reportedly supported the request.

In their letter, the signatories accused Chan and his administration for “apparent resistance and lack of transparency” in accounting to the public on how the City distributed what it had received to assist those affected by the typhoon.

The group claimed that Chan and his administration received various donations from different national government offices and those from the private sector that they failed to account for.

The concerned citizens claimed that during a City Council session on Jan. 13, representatives from the executive department were summoned to provide information concerning donation.

“Not a single one who attended can provide information, all citing that it is only the city treasurer, who did not attend the Sanggunian Session, can provide the information. Whereas the city accountant stated that she cannot provide the information because her documents were damaged by Typhoon Odette, despite that the donations and financial assistance being asked referred to those which came after the said typhoon,” the group said.

“Aside from the lack of transparency, the Chan administration is clearly dragging its feet in extending the financial aid to Typhoon Odette victims,” they added.

Though he admits he has yet to receive a copy of the letter, Chan told SunStar Cebu that he is ready to answer it in a proper forum.

“Andam ko mo atubang. Ingna sila, bisag asa mi mag-abot,” said Chan.

(I am ready to face my accusers. Tell them, I am willing to meet them anywhere)

Chan earlier said the City needs P419 million to cover all 83,941 affected individuals who were identified as beneficiaries for P5,000 financial assistance.

But there is only P236 million available funds from the city’s treasury.

The mayor previously stated that he will personally look for the lacking amount so that all will be able to receive the cash aid.

Chan said members of the city’s opposition bloc are questioning where he will get the remaining P183 million.

“Diin kog kwarta? Ayaw mo og pangutana kon hain kog kwarta. Inig human anig hatag nako, subayan namo.” said Chan.

(Where did I get the money? Don’t ask me where I got the money. Once we have distributed it, we will account for what we have distributed).