Rama calls for additional budget for typhoon recovery

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Mayor Michael Rama. | photo file

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama has said the city needs more funds to recover from Typhoon Odette.

The mayor said he would submit a supplementary budget proposal in the coming days to city council as the current P1 billion budget is simply not enough.

Rama has already asked President Rodrigo Duterte for 5 billion pesos in aid, but the city has yet to receive a response to this request. Meanwhile, the city must find ways to finance the recovery.

“We looked back. Unless the national government brings in billions of dollars, damages estimated at 1.7 billion pesos, when you look at it, the current budget is not enough when you talk about a comprehensive stimulus package, ” did he declare.

The city allocated 1 billion pesos for the typhoon response, but all were allocated in the form of financial aid to affected households, rice aid and agricultural aid to farmers.

This is why the mayor has asked the local finance committee to find the funds for the supplementary budget as it is determined that all owners of works affected by Typhoon Odette should receive 5,000 P per structure.

Even if the national government will be able to provide the 5 billion peso financial assistance requested by the city of Cebu, this is unlikely to be enough for a paradigm shift in disaster preparedness and resilience.

“If another typhoon hits, I don’t want to see water as a problem anymore. I would beg the President on my knees to help us. So we can continue with clarity and certainty, the so-called roadblock, ”said Rama.

The mayor said that if the city is to fully recover from Odette, changes must be made to utilities, electricity and water supply to make them sustainable against any other environmental threats.

In his recent presentation to the city council, Rama said that utilities need to be installed underground and that the city needs its own power plant and waste-to-energy facility as long-term plans for resilience to waste. disasters.

However, for now, the focus would be on direct assistance to affected residents, and therefore the additional budget. The mayor cannot yet give an exact amount for this budget, but he plans to deliver the proposal to council soon.

The city has already distributed rice aid to the majority of barangays, both in urban and mountainous areas, but financial aid from 5,000 straw mattresses has not yet caught up.

The release of the 5,000 P financial aid was hampered by the need for a verified list of barangays and the budget request from the municipal treasurer’s office.

At least 510,000 families are expected to have received or are receiving their rice aid channeled through the barangays. / rcg

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