Editorial: More political drama in Lapu-Lapu City at Odette-hit families’ expense

·2 min read

Today is the 20th day since Typhoon Odette (Rai) devastated parts of Cebu, including Lapu-Lapu City, on Thursday evening, Dec. 16, 2021.

Also, today is the eighth day since the Lapu-Lapu City Council (dominated by political rivals of Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan) passed on Dec. 28, the Annual Investment Plan that includes P302 million budget for the financial aid to families affected by the strongest typhoon ever to hit the Philippines in 2021.

As of Jan. 2, 2022, the Lapu-Lapu City Government had recorded a total of 96,290 households that were affected by Typhoon Odette.

The P302 million financial assistance, an increase from the original P236 million budget, could only cover 56,730, according to Mayor Chan.

The mayor only needs to sign the documents to release the financial aid—P5,000 for each affected household. But he did not yet put the ink on paper because he wants the funds to be distributed via the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), contrary to the decision of the City Council (dominated by Chan’s political nemesis Rep. Paz Radaza’s allies) that wants the barangay captains to distribute the aid.

Chan said on Monday, Jan. 3 that he will possibly release the assistance within this week through the CSWDO, and he will risk himself going to jail for doing so.

On Tuesday, Jan. 4, the mayor changed tune. He posted on his Facebook page that he has ordered the CSWDO personnel and barangay officials to simultaneously distribute financial aid. He wants the recipients to be assessed thoroughly to avoid favoritism (“paduolay sa luwag”); he wants a house-to-house distribution.

This financial aid has become an intense political issue in Lapu-Lapu City as if these politicians own the government money. Chan, perhaps, fears that Radaza would gain brownie points from potential voters if the aid is given by a barangay captain allied with the congresswoman.

Mayor Chan and the opposition councilors could perhaps find common ground for the good of the Odette-affected families of the city.

Opposing camps could enter into a political truce to get the aid released.

There is no need for Mayor Chan to go to jail.

For all of them to look good in public, Chan and his team and Radaza and her camp could perhaps stand side by side during the distribution. Lapu-Lapu City politicians should have realized that the release of the financial aid has been hijacked by their gross politicking.

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