Six city and town mayors in the second district of Negros Oriental signed a manifesto addressed to President Benigno Aquino III, asking for the immediate release of P480 million in calamity funds to repair and improve infrastructure damaged by tropical storm “Sendong”.

Mayors Manuel Sagarbarria of Dumaguete, Marcela Bartoces of Sibulan, Carmelo Emmanuel Remollo of San Jose, Bentham dela Cruz of Amlan, Lawrence Teves of Tanjay City, and Valencia Mayor Enrique Gonzalez signed the request for the release of the funds to what they were intended.

The allocation represents 50 percent of the calamity funds requested by Gov. Roel Degamo and already approved by Aquino, but the release was withheld by the Department of Budget and Management.

In his letter to Degamo, DBM Undersecretary Mario Relampagos said that the provincial government has not complied with existing guidelines on large-scale fund releases for infrastructure projects.

Degamo, however, refuted the DBM claim, saying he had asked for a reconsideration of the agency’s decision. He also claimed that a politician is blocking the release of the funds to be used for the rehabilitation, repair, and improvement of infrastructure projects, including the rechanneling, deepening and bolstering of protection dikes against floods.

Degamo assured the mayors that the projects will be undertaken according to specifications.*JG