So to Espino: Be transparent on use of calamity fund
By Virgilio Sar. Maganes
DAGUPAN CITY- The leader of an agricultural organization called on Governor Amado T. Espino Jr. to be transparent on the use of the 2015 local disaster and risk reduction management fund or calamity fund after Typhoon Lando battered the province last October 19 to 22.
The typhoon caused flash floods, rendering some families homeless and the destroyed agricultural crops particularly palay that were ready for harvest.
Abono Partylist Chair Rosendo O. So, also the chair of Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag), lamented how the relief operations conducted by the provincial government were somehow not felt by the affected families in many towns of the province.
” This year, the calamity fund is P137 million representing 5% of the P2.7 billion appropriations. How much of this was used to buy relief goods for the affected victims of Typhoon Lando? If their figure is 25,300 food packs with an estimated amount of P150 of goods inside each pack, then that is only more or less P3 million. Where did the rest of the calamity funds go?” So said when interviewed on ” Sa Bagong Bayan Po(e)” aired over DZRD Sonshine Radio last October 29.
He said Espino should disclose and be transparent on how the P137 million is used since the amount came from taxpayers money.
He further said until now, Pangasinenses have yet to know where calamity funds of the previous years were spent like the P105 million in 2013 and P123 million in 2014.
” There should be proper accounting of these funds as to where and what they were spent for. It’s about time the people knew that we have substantial funds for calamity funds. Do these funds reach them to recover their losses on agricultural crops?” he said.
So also said the Abono Partylist in coordination with the Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCCI), Sinag, Federation of Fertilizers and Pesticides Multipurpose Cooperative and the Office of Senator Grace Poe has already distributed 15,000 bags of relief goods to Typhoon Lando’s affected towns.
“The money used in buying the relief goods came from our personal funds without any single centavo from the government,” he said.
Meanwhile, So took a swipe at Liberal Party presidentiable Mar Roxas in saying that constructing an international airport in Pangasinan was a waste of money as there are not enough travelers to use it.
So said Roxas was not aware of what he was saying as this is now the time that Pangasinan needed an airport to decongest the three airports in Metro Manila.
“Look at Taiwan. It is smaller in area compared to Pangasinan and yet it has six international airports, four mini-international airports and domestic airports. Taiwan is very progressive because the tourists and investors could have short time in traveling to their destinations. An international airport in Pangasinan could be the gateway to the north and will propel tourism activities in the province,” So said.
He said the best site for an international airport would be in Sta. Barbara or somewhere between Malasiqui and Villasis towns.
” The proposed airport in Alaminos City that was approved by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) in 2010 will be a domestic airport to boost the tourism potential of Hundred Islands,” he said.
It will be recalled that in 2010 under the administration of then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, DOTC started constructing an access road leading to the purchased lot of the proposed airport. But the project was not given priority by President Benigno S. Aquino III.
So shared the vision of presidentiable Senator Grace Poe who, during her visit last August 26, said Pangasinan must have an international airport to boost its progress and to tap its tourism potentials.
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