Bohol Governor Arthur Yap on Tuesday, December 21, started delivering aid to three island municipalities of the province even as he urged the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to immediately download food and emergency relief funds to local government units (LGUs).
Yap supervised the loading of relief goods for the towns of Talibon, Getafe, and Bien Unido onto the Philippine Coast Guard vessel BRP Tubbataha.
The Bohol governor said he hoped to cover eight barangays in Talibon and the same number in Getafe, plus Bienvenido between Tuesday and Wednesday, December 22.
Yap started dispatching relief aid a few hours after baring that Bohol’s death count had climbed to 96, with 16 persons still missing. Around a hundred were injured. The governor said 28,845 families fled to evacuation centers.
Typhoon Odette (Rai) made its fifth and sixth landfalls in Bohol on December 16. Many of the evacuees have no houses to return to.
In a video posted on his Facebook page, Yap said residents of island towns have no more fishing equipment or boats left, so they no longer have livelihood.
“Their homes are destroyed. And they don’t have water because that comes from the mainland, and we don’t have power,” he pointed out.
A frustrated Yap called out the DSWD, headed by retired Army chief Rolando Bautista, who has joined President Rodrigo Duterte’s trips to areas hit by Odette.
“Nasaan na ‘yung sinasabi n’yong ipapadala n’yong mga food packs? (Where are the food packs you said you would send?)” he asked. “Ipadala n’yo na po ngayon (Send them now).”
If the DSWD delays the delivery of food aid, Yap said he would just ask Duterte for police and soldiers.
“I’ve head some reports already ng konting mga hindi magandang nangyayari (about a few bad incidents), especially in northern Bohol,” Yap said.
“Alam kong may pondo pa naman ho dyan (I know there are funds available),” he said. According to the governor, LGUs would help the national government, using their powers for emergency procurements.
But he warned the DSWD chief that insisting on centralizing aid delivery when the department’s regional offices and staff are also reeling from Odette would cause delays.
“We don’t want to say they are not doing their jobs. Download those funds to the LGUs, and we will submit to an audit,” the governor said.
Yap also asked the Department of Trade and Industry to deploy price monitoring teams, saying there were reports of fuel hitting P100 per liter.
‘Give us a bit more time‘
While visiting Maasin City in Southern Leyte on Saturday, December 18, Duterte had appealed for understanding from typhoon survivors.
“I can promise to the people that help will arrive. Just give us a bit more time, because there’s a lot of paperwork in government,” the President said. “If you try to rush things, you may face deeper problems,” he said in Bisaya.
Aside from the P2 billion he promised to give each affected province, Duterte is trying to find P10 billion more for provinces that bore the brunt of Odette. – Rappler.com
Brynch Bonachita is a Visayas-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.