FACEBOOK.COM/DILG.PHILIPPINESMORE THAN 10 municipal mayors in the Cagayan Valley Region and Cordillera Administrative Region may face show-cause orders for being physically absent during the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said on Tuesday, Sept. 18.
In a related matter regarding assistance to victims of the super-typhoon, Senator Grace S. Poe-Llamanzares proposed that slots in the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer program be reserved for victims of disasters that hit Northern Luzon.
In a press conference on Tuesday, as also quoted in a statement that day, DILG Undersecretary for Peace and Order Bernardo C. Florece, Jr. said, “We were surprised with the reports received at the Central Office of absentee mayors whose local government units (LGUs) are part of the critical areas in the Typhoon Ompong track.”
The DILG said in its statement that, based on the DILG’s Operation Listo protocols, Local Chief Executives (LCEs) whose LGUs fall under the Alpha (low risk areas), Bravo (medium-risk areas), and Charlie (high-risk areas) during typhoon are mandated to undertake necessary critical preparedness actions as part of disaster preparations.
Mr. Florece said the Department is investigating field reports. “For cases filed within the DILG, the biggest sanction that LCEs will face can be suspension but for cases filed under the Ombudsman, the erring mayors could face dismissal,” he said.
For his part, DILG Assistant Secretary and Spokesperson Jonathan E. Malaya said the names of the mayors concerned could not yet be disclosed as the Department is still reviewing their performances vis-à-vis the Operation Listo protocols. “The Department doesn’t want trial by publicity so the actual names of erring mayors will be released after the investigation is complete,” he said.
He said the mayors who would be proven negligent or remiss in their duty, especially as chairpersons of their respective Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils, will be required to submit a written explanation within a prescribed period as to why no disciplinary action should be taken against them.
“As mandated by the Local Government Code, the presence and support of mayors in their respective areas of jurisdictions is imperative for them to carry out measures to protect their constituents from the harmful effects of disasters and calamities,” Mr. Malaya said.
Senator Poe, in her statement on Tuesday, said at least 5% of the funded number of CCT beneficiaries yearly should be earmarked for victims of natural calamities. “That means for every one million CCT enrollees, we are keeping 50,000 in reserve for those who will be displaced in the future… Instead of giving them groceries from time to time, why don’t we…provide aid that is regular, organized, and has a fixed time-frame?”
Ms. Poe said. The poverty requirement in selecting beneficiaries should be followed in choose disaster recipients as well, the senator also pointed out. As to the duration of the cash transfer, Ms. Poe said this would depend on the actual needs and assessment of government officials assigned to evaluate. “It should be clear that this is for a limited period—whether they will be given in the coming year. At least this will reduce their concerns and second, it should be the mandate of the government that the money in the program should be distributed at once,” she said.
Under the proposed 2019 national budget, about P88 billion is allocated for the cash transfer program. According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), there are about 4.4 million household beneficiaries of the program. — with a report by Camille A. Aguinaldo