BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – The Negros Occidental provincial government has completed the distribution of the National Housing Authority’s P91-million aid to communities devastated by Typhoon Odette in December 2021.
On Wednesday, June 15, the office of Governor Eugenio Jose “Bong” Lacson said that the province distributed the final tranche of P19.9 million to 3,989 residents of Cauayan town in the far southern portion of Negros Occidental.
Kabankalan City got the biggest share of housing aid, with 7,284 residents receiving P5,000 each, for a total of P36 million. Much of the city’s central plain areas got flooded as Odette’s rains sent mountain waters rushing down.
Sipalay City got P15.9 million in financial assistance to 3,199 families.
Lacson had earlier explained that only households with destroyed homes were eligible for NHA aid.
The province, he added, had also previously delivered cash aid and housing materials for those with partially damaged homes, with local government units augmenting this from their disaster funds.
Aside from the NHA aid, the Negros Occidental Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) approved in January 2022 the proposed P500-million assistance for victims of Typhoon Odette and other previous disasters.
Included in this budget is P13.8 million worth of shelter assistance sourced from the province’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) trust fund.
One town, however, failed to get as much aid because of their local council’s failure to pass a state of calamity ordinance.
In Isabela town, less than 3,000 of the 14,000 residents listed as potential aid recipients received the P5,000 NHA cash aid, according to reelected Mayor Irene Consunji-Montilla.
She also told reporters to ask the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to answer residents’ complaints about uneven distribution of aid.
“We listed so many but not all were validated,” Montilla said. “We complained about this a long time ago.”
The mayor said the town council had ignored a draft resolution that elaborated on the damage Odette inflicted on communities, especially vulnerable upland farming villages.
The town, she said, received only P2.7 million in aid, or far less than the amount received by other local government units that had passed calamity measures.
The amount covered only 2,283 of the 14,000 households listed by the town, she added. – Marchel Espina/Rappler.com