BOHOL — Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan calls for a Senate hearing to determine the true extent of the damage of Odette-damaged areas and to recommend fund realignment as he went on a relief mission here Wednesday (Dec. 29).
“Kinakailangan mag-realign ng pondo dahil malaki ang damage. Kailangan busisiin ng Senado kung paano maililipat ang ilang pondo na nariyan na para direktang makinabang ang mga tao. Marami pang unprogrammed funds,” Pangilinan said.
Partial reports show that Category-5 Odette partially or totally destroyed 192,000 homes in 27 of 47 towns in Bohol. Damage to residential property alone, excluding damage to crops and livestock, cost about P10 billion.
“In Bohol alone, the entire year’s P20-billion National Disaster Fund will be depleted. The damage in six regions is so extensive government must determine what amounts from the P1.4 trillion parked or unspent funds from the 2021 budget need to be realigned to augment the disaster fund,” Pangilinan said.
Bohol Vice Governor Rene Relampagos agreed and cited public works funds of three district engineering offices for infrastructure projects that can instead be used to buy construction materials for homes.
Bohol Governor Arthur Yap said Boholanos need GI sheet, nails, chain saw, and other construction materials.
“Immediate need ang trapal para may masilungan. Kami na ang bahala sa mga kahoy. Kailangan namin ng mga 10-20 chainsaws that can be picked up by our supply ship,” the governor said.
Yap said support from the national government has been slow, adding that for three days after Odette, he could not contact anyone.
Triple fuel supply in Bohol
Pangilinan called on oil companies to triple their supply to the province, pointing out that the extent of damage is very serious as it has affected six regions.
Rep. Ed Chatto (Bohol, First District) said his constituency still has no electricity, and generator sets are needed especially for water stations. He said fuel supply is still a problem as two ships bringing fuel sank.
Pangilinan thus exhorted the private sector to help in repair works to restore power lines as many areas remain in darkness. “We must deliver aid to our people at once, no community should be forgotten or ignored,” he said.
Relampagos said Odette wiped out about 70% of crops and about 30% livestock, and damaged 10 provincial hospitals.
Yap suggested that a government body, working with the private sector, should be tasked to oversee and give a comprehensive picture of the situation in Odette-hit areas and the ongoing relief and rehabilitation efforts.
Pangilinan agreed and said the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council must be strengthened.
“We have yet to see the whole picture of the devastation. We need this to know how to go about our relief efforts. We also need an inventory of the funds we have released so far, how much is still in the coffers and how much is coming in from the private sector, including international donors,” the senator added.
Normalize port operations and food prices
Pangilinan urged anew for government to speed up of repair works in the affected ports to normalize the flow of goods such as food, fuel, and building materials in the provinces.
He said truck-loads of relief items have been stuck in ports because of the unavailability of roll on-roll off vessels.
Pangilinan also called on the Department of Trade and Industry to step up its monitoring of compliance to price ceilings, amid reports of overpricing of fuel and other commodities.
“Kung may lesson man tayong matututunan sa kalamidad na ito, ito ay ang halaga ng pagtutulungan. Government and private sector should work together. We need each other to hurdle this,” he said.