THE mayor of a southern Cebu town where 14 died during tropical storm Seniang asked yesterday for help in building dikes in its rivers.
In a meeting with the mayors of other affected towns, Mayor Mariano Blanco III of Ronda asked Gov. Hilario Davide III and members of Congress to help provide dikes, which may prevent floods in low-lying areas like Poblacion.
Aside from dikes, help in the rehabilitation of houses and dealing with sinkholes were among the issues the mayors raised before the governor.
Davide said he will ask the Department of Public Works and Highways and Provincial Engineering Office to study where they can put up river dikes.
At least 17 persons died in Cebu when Seniang struck the south in the final week of 2014. Fourteen were from Ronda.
Based reports from the towns as of yesterday, at least 148 houses were destroyed and 449 houses damaged by Seniang in the towns of Alcantara, Barili, Dumanjug and Ronda.
Also as of yesterday, the national disaster council’s assessment showed that Seniang damaged P685 million worth of crops and agricultural equipment, and destroyed P72.95 million in public infrastructure. It said that the storm caused 65 deaths and left 41 others injured. Seven persons remain missing.
The Cebu City Council decided yesterday to send financial help to the municipalities heavily affected by typhoon Seniang last Dec. 29.
The council, through a resolution penned by Councilor Dave Tumulak, agreed to grant P300,000 each as financial assistance to Dumanjug, Alcantara, Sibonga and Ronda.
For its part, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Central Visayas said it has sent food packs to Ronda.
Meanwhile, the Department of Education (Deped) 7 has started to assess how the storm affected classrooms in the southern towns.
During his meeting with the mayors, Davide announced that families whose houses were destroyed or damaged by Seniang—as well as tropical depression Queenie and typhoon Ruby before it—will get financial assistance through the Province’s calamity fund.
Owners of destroyed houses will receive P10,000, while those whose houses the storm
damaged will get P5,000 to buy materials for repairs.
The mayors who attended the meeting were Raymond Joseph Calderon of Samboan, Verna Magallon of Alegria, Blanco of Ronda, Beatriz Caburnay of Alcantara, Teresito Mariñas of Barili and Inocentes Cabaron of Moalboal.
The towns of Malabuyoc, Dumanjug, Aloguinsan and Alcantara sent their representatives to attend the meeting.
Davide told the mayors to submit a report on how many houses were destroyed or damaged to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, so that the Capitol can process the assistance.
Rep. Wilfredo Caminero (Cebu Province, 2nd district), Provincial Board Member Christopher Baricuatro and representatives of the private sector and different government agencies were also present to hear the reports.
Alcantara reported that the town lost at least P6,875,150 worth of infrastructure, crops, livestock and facilities for education and water supply.
In Barili, Mariñas said the estimated cost of damage was P1,062,250 for agriculture and P19,350,000 for infrastructure.
Mariñas asked for help in the reconstruction of damaged school buildings, a spillway and hanging bridges located in Sitio Kalapukan and Kabulihan in Barangay Sta. Ana.
He also requested help in the removal of rocks, soil and trees obstructing the roads; repairs on the Barangay Japitan fishport, dredging of the Maigan River, declogging of canals in Barangay Poblacion; and repairs on the roads in Barangay Mayana.
Davide said he already told PDRRM officer Baltazar Tribunalo Jr. to hasten the damage assessment report that will be submitted to the Office of the President, so that the towns can get assistance for Seniang survivors.
The Cebu City Government has also decided to help not just the southern Cebu towns, but also, as recommended by Councilor Lea Japson, the towns of Catbalogan, Samar and Boronggan, Eastern Samar.
Both municipalities will also receive P300,000 each.
A total of P1.8 million will be charged to the balance of the 2014 Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Fund.
But the financial assistance for Catbalogan and Boronggan will have to wait since the resolution passed by the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council recommended only the P1.2 million in assistance for the four southern Cebu towns.
Councilor Alvin Dizon clarified he has no objection to the resolution to send help, but that there should be guidelines when the City extends assistance to local government units outside Cebu.
Interviewed separately, DSWD 7 spokesperson Leah Quintana said that the agency has sent an initial 600 food packs to Ronda. Trucks deployed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command delivered these supplies.
DSWD 7 previously sent 1,000 food packs each to the towns of Alcantara and Dumanjug. At least 1,917 food packs were sent to Barili as well.
Quintana said the agency has yet to send relief packs to Argao as they have not received a request from the local government for additional relief.
Aside from the relief packs, help for the families of those who died as a result of Seniang will also be provided by DSWD.
Mayor Blanco earlier criticized the DSWD 7 for what he described as their slow response to his town’s relief needs.
How the storm affected public classrooms is something that the DepEd7 has yet to confirm. Assessments are being conducted in Alcantara, Barili, Ronda and Dumanjug.
Dr. Victor Yntig, DepEd 7 physical facilities coordinator, told reporters that while they received word about damaged classrooms in the south, he has yet to receive a total estimate from the LGUs.
Yntig said that should they receive the estimates from the LGUs, the Deped can use its Quick Response Fund to pay for immediate repairs. Aside from the QRF, another possible source of funds for classroom repairs is the Basic Education Facilities Fund.