City Council defers P7 million aid for LGUs affected by Mt. Kanlaon eruption

KANLAON WATCH. A view of Mount Kanlaon in this June 8, 2024 photo. The Office of Civil Defense on Sunday (June 9, 2024) said it has deployed a water filtration truck along with a seven-member rapid deployment team to Negros Occidental province to help communities affected by the volcano's eruption.
KANLAON WATCH. A view of Mount Kanlaon in this June 8, 2024 photo. The Office of Civil Defense on Sunday (June 9, 2024) said it has deployed a water filtration truck along with a seven-member rapid deployment team to Negros Occidental province to help communities affected by the volcano's eruption. Contributed photo

THE City Council defers the approval of the P7 million financial assistance for the local government units (LGUs) affected by the eruption of Mount Kanlaon in Negros Oriental and Occidental, citing that the proposed resolution was "premature".

In a special session on Tuesday, June 11, held via online teleconferencing, Cebu City Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera deferred the deliberation and approval of the proposed resolution by City Councilor Joel Garganera to the next Regular Session on June 19.

The proposed resolution aims to charge the Annual Investment Plan (AIP) under the 2022 Local Disaster Management Fund as the source of funding for the P7 million financial assistance to be extended to the municipalities of Bago, La Carlota, La Castellana, Moises Padilla, and Pontevedra, with P1 million each, while the City of Canlaon will receive P2 million.

City Councilor Philip Zafra, on behalf of Garganera, who was unable to attend the special session, moved for the approval of the proposed resolution.

During the deliberation, Pesquera said that the proposed resolution included charging the funding to the AIP, which she noted did not follow proper procedure.

She said that using or amending the AIP or trust fund, even if taken from prior years, must be approved by the Cebu City Development Council (CDC), which she noted has not been done.

The CDC, composed of more than 100 members, must convene first to approve the AIP amendments.

She also said that there are LGUs with the least number of affected families, particularly in La Carlota town with only 64 families affected by the disaster.

This observation followed her notice of the non-attachment of the latest report on the damages caused by the disaster.

"It's good Mr. Chair that we are generous, but then we have also think about that it will not be too much but will be enough to also help them recuperate with the situation," Pesquera said.

She urged the proponent to attach supporting documents, particularly the latest damage reports on each LGU, for the next regular session.

Cebu City Councilor Noel Wenceslao suggested that instead of amending the AIP, the proponent should charge the financial assistance to the Quick Release Funds (QRF).

Wenceslao said that the QRF has an available balance of around P344 million, from which only P7 million would be charged for the financial assistance.

On Monday, June 10, Cebu City Acting Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia approved the financial assistance to the LGUs affected by the Mt. Canlaon eruption based on a resolution from the disaster council.

Garcia called for a special session to expedite the approval of the proposed resolution.

On the evening of June 3, Mount Canlaon erupted, lasting for six minutes and producing a plume that rose to 5,000 meters.

The City of Canlaon in Negros Oriental and the municipality of La Castellana in Negros Occidental declared a state of calamity following the ashfall and sulfuric fumes as a result. (EHP)

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