Capitol to spend P500M for ‘Odette’ survivors; Cebu, Toledo to give aid

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THE Cebu Provincial Government will allocate P500 million to help Typhoon Odette (Rai) survivors regain their livelihood, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said during a visit to Balamban town Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, without giving details.

During the visit, the governor also said she would put up a radio base in all local government units (LGUs) and police stations in the province so communication would not be hampered in the absence of a mobile phone signal or internet connection, Sugbo News reported.

When Odette hit Cebu last Dec. 16 bearing gusts of up to 240 kilometers per hour, it toppled power lines and cell towers, causing a blackout, communication problems and water supply issues.

The governor added that she would allocate funds in the Capitol’s 2022 budget for the purchase of generator sets with the view to every barangay in the province getting at least one generator set.

Many parts of Cebu immediately encountered water supply issues when the electricity to power water pumps was cut. The gensets would prevent such problems in the future.

Last Sunday, Dec. 26, Governor Garcia and. Capitol officials visited 23 cities and towns in Cebu’s south and midwest badly hit by Odette and distributed satellite phones and high-frequency two-way radios (UHF/VHF) to help the LGUs in their relief and clearing operations pending the restoration of telco services.

Earlier, on Dec. 19, Garcia also gave each of 20 southern Cebu LGUs she visited P100,000 as initial assistance as well as relief goods, the news platform of the Cebu Provincial Government said.

The P2 million in cash divided among the 20 LGUs came from the P1 million each donated by Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno Domagoso and the Garcia Group of Companies.

P5 – P10 million

Last Dec. 22, in a meeting with mayors, Garcia also announced that the Capitol would give at least P5 million to each of the 35 LGUs in Cebu that had been worst hit by Typhoon Odette.

“I will download a certain amount—maybe from P5 to P10 million—for each municipality and city so you can spend that further, just for our initial recovery efforts,” Garcia said in a mix of English and Cebuano.

She told the mayors that an initial P1 million would be immediately available for the LGUs to use.

Adding that she would prioritize helping the residents to rebuild their homes, she asked the mayors to submit a list of damaged and destroyed homes in their areas immediately so the Capitol could procure the appropriate supply of G.I. sheets and plywood.

Garcia also promised to allocate a “heftier” amount in Capitol’s 2022 budget for the rehabilitation of public infrastructure damaged by Odette.

As of Dec. 24, the Capitol said, it had delivered to the 35 LGUs worst hit by the Dec. 16 typhoon a total of 113,584 bottles of water, 21,233 sacks of rice, 46,000 liters of water in water tanks, 8,000 liters of fuel, 3,876 boxes of sardines, 6,744 boxes of beef loaf, 1,000 assorted goods, 502 boxes of noodles and 523 boxes of coffee.

Cebu City

In Cebu City, the local government unit will distribute the first batch of the P5,000 financial assistance to the victims of Typhoon Odette on Thursday, Dec. 30.

Around 7,000 families from 18 barangays would receive the cash aid, Mayor Michael Rama announced at a press conference Wednesday.

This despite the fact that the mayor issued Executive Order 152 Wednesday implementing a Stay-at-Home Order for the observance of the Enhanced Citywide Qualitative Health and Sanitation Drive in the city. (See separate story.)

Rama said he would roam around to check the distribution.

Asked how he would oversee the distribution, Rama simply replied, “I have a way of doing it.”

The mayor also said he had signed the request for the P5 billion assistance from the Office of the President.

However, Rama said this amount is still not enough because it is not only intended for cash assistance but also to address the issues on food, health and sanitation.

Rama also pointed out that the individual's emotional and psychological state after the typhoon is part of the damages.

The mayor added that damaged structures should not be rebuilt to their original state but a better version should rise.

"Kung atong buhaton ra pag human kay balik ra gihapon, unsay mahitabo maabot na sad ang sunog guba na sad, maabot na sad ang bagyo, hurot," said Rama. (If we return them to their original state, what will happen is that when a fire or storm comes, they will be destroyed again.)

Rama said he had directed the City Planning and Development Office to create a disaster resiliency program that will include rivers and coastal areas.

“So that when another calamity will come, we do not talk about destruction, we only talk about repair," said Rama.

Asked about the delay in the distribution of aid from the city government, Rama said the money is available but the validation of the recipients is not easy.

Rama urged the barangay captains to expedite the submission of the list of beneficiaries to hasten the handing out of the cash aid.

He added that the National Housing Authority will also donate P10 million worth of housing materials for the residents of the city.

Toledo City

In Toledo City, the LGU announced that it will give P2,000 to all households in the city.

In a statement posted on its official Facebook page, Toledo City officials led by Mayor Marjorie Perales said the cash aid was made possible following the declaration of a state of calamity in the city after the typhoon and consultation with members of the City Council led by Vice Mayor Jay Sigue and the city's department heads.

"As all of us were not spared by Typhoon Odette. Everyone is entitled to the aid. Every household in our city should receive their cash aid," Perales said in Cebuano.

The City is verifying the number of households in the barangays before it starts releasing the cash aid. (CTL, IRT, JKV, PR)

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