Davao city council okays P31.5M for rice aid to Kidapawan
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Citing humanitarian grounds, the city council approved the release of P31.5 million to purchase 15,000 bags of rice for North Cotabato, which was hit by El Niño.
During its regular session Tuesday, April 5, an appropriation of P300 million was allocated for Davao City's farmers and fisherfolk as part of the local government's intervention to avoid a situation similar to what happened in Kidapawan.
At least one farmer was killed and 13 others were wounded on April 1, when police dispersed a farmers' protest action in Kidapawan City in North Cotabato.
Police said about 3,000 protesters blocked the Davao-Cotabato Highway starting Wednesday, March 30, to demand government assistance in the wake of the effects of drought in the area. The Kidapawan City police dispersed the protest morning of April 1.
The budget for the purchase of rice was approved after Mayor Rodrigo Duterte asked the city council to allow City Hall to extend food assistance to the drought-stricken farmers of North Cotabato – not only to those who picketed the Davao-Cotabato Highway but also to those severely affected.
Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte told reporters the Kidapawan food assistance is Davao City government's contribution to the farmers. The assistance will be distributed through the Philippine National Red Cross.
Finance Ways and Means Committee chair Danilo Dayanghirang told Rappler “the distribution will be channeled through the Red Cross and the local DSWD, it will be distributed per municipality then to the barangay level, it will cover all the areas hit by El Niño not just for the protesting farmers.”
This is not the first time that Davao City extended help to other local government units suffering from calamities.
The city extended its assistance to different localities like the area hit by Typhoon Pablo, Sendong, the Ondoy flood, and Super Typhoon Yolanda, among others.
But City Administrator Melchor Quitain said all these, will be to have clearance from the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
“We need to get the clearance from Comelec because it is election period although the Local Government Code allows inter-LGU assistance in times of calamity and emergencies,” he added.
On Saturday, April 2, Duterte said in Bukidnon he will help the farmers in terms of food assistance but that he would not intervene in the decision of North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza to refuse to heed the farmers’ request for assistance. – Editha Z. Caduaya/Rappler.com