The quest for transparency over how the 147 million peso calamity fund was spent will continue even though Deputy Governor Rene Relampagos ignored the request in the halls of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
That was the statement released by senior board member Victor Balite as he lambasted the vice governor for ‘downplaying his itemized expense claim on the use of the fund which did not even indicate how much was spent on victims of Typhoon Odette and how much to the COVID-19 relief program.
Balite said he felt insulted when Vice Governor Relempagos dismissed his question and simply said “it would probably be wise and advisable for you to see the governor and talk to him heart to heart.”
Relampagos requested the provincial legislator to speak with Governor Yap for the detailed distribution of the 147 million pesos earmarked under the CY 2021 Local Disaster Risk Management Fund.
He said that due to Relampagos’ reluctance to be transparent, he will complete his communication to the relevant agencies this week who can provide details of the expenses.
The senior provincial legislator said any elementary school student would know what transparency means and how the vice governor was trying to “beat around the bush” by asking me “what kind of information do you want to know.”
The Opposition MP was specifically asked about the details of P107M (P107 154 130.00) which was simply stated as “Food: to include 8 kilo rice distributed to families affected by COVID-19 as well as packaging food – tinned rice, water for families affected by Typhoon Odette.
“There was not even a breakdown as to how much was used for COVID-19 humanitarian relief and how much was due to Typhoon Odette,” Balite pointed out in an interview after the session.
In his privilege speech, he noted the report as “incomplete given that there was no breakdown”
The provincial legislator was insistent in his call for transparency after Governor Yap himself in an earlier pre-session assured members of Sangguniang Panlalawigan of transparency on how the calamity fund was being used.
Balite said that after receiving the report on the 2021 Disaster Risk Management Fund from the provincial government, he wrote to provincial budget official Peter M. Retutal to request details of the expenditures. of the budget of 147 million pula for 2021.
Other items in the expenditure report are training P5.4 million; Medicines and drugs 1.7 million pula; Medical supplies 4.3 million pesos while “Other MOOE” showed 1.5 million pesos for vehicle rental and medical supplies.
Council member Balite said this “generalized” list of expenses is not in the spirit of transparency the public deserves, especially in this time of crisis.