Aid for Negros LGUs affected by Kanlaon eruption down to P3M

NEGROS. Aftermath of the eruption of Kanlaon volcano in Ibid Creek, Tamburong Bridge, Brgy. Biaknabato, So. Calapnagan, La Castellana, Negros Occidental.
NEGROS. Aftermath of the eruption of Kanlaon volcano in Ibid Creek, Tamburong Bridge, Brgy. Biaknabato, So. Calapnagan, La Castellana, Negros Occidental.Photo from Mt. Kanla-on Natural Park

THE P7 million financial assistance promised by the Cebu City Government for the local government units (LGUs) on Negros Island affected by the eruption of Mt. Kanlaon, an active stratovolcano, on June 3, 2024, has been reduced to P3 million.

During the regular session on Wednesday, June 19, 2024, the Cebu City Council approved the P1 million aid for La Castellana in Negros Occidental and P2 million for Canlaon City in Negros Oriental.

Thirteen councilors voted in favor of the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council’s (CCDRRMC) resolution requesting the council to approve the aid for the two LGUs.

However, only La Castellana and Canlaon City declared to place their LGUs under a state of calamity. The four other LGUs did not.

Cebu City Acting Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia, in a phone interview Wednesday, June 19, agreed with the council’s decision.

“Under our rules, we can only give to those who have declared a state of calamity,” he said.

Garcia said the disaster council resolution, which he approved on June 10, 2024, was on the condition that the towns where the City intended to give financial aid would declare a state of calamity.

“We cannot give financial assistance if they themselves did not declare a state of calamity. To us, it means they do not need our help,” Garcia said.

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the town of La Castellana suffered production losses valued at P11,331,206.35, while the damage to agricultural production in Canlaon City amounted to P93,494,538.20.

In a separate phone interview Wednesday, Councilor Joel Garganera, chairman of the committee on environment, said the financial aid will be drawn from the Annual Investment Plan of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund-Trust Fund 2022.

Councilor Joel Garganera, who chairs the committee on environment, said the financial assistance for Canlaon City and La Castellana is based on the respective damage reports from each town.

He said most of the damage in Canlaon City was agricultural in nature.

When asked if the funds originally intended for towns that did not declare a state of calamity would be reallocated to Canlaon and La Castellana, Garganera said the CCDRRMC decided to provide only P3 million in total for the two towns.

On June 10, Garcia announced during a press conference that the City planned to provide P7 million in aid to several cities and municipalities on Negros Island, subject to the City Council’s approval. (AML)

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