After his undisputed victory in the 2013 gubernatorial polls, Gov Roel Degamo will re-try convincing the Aquino government to release the remaining half of P480-Million calamity fund intended for typhoon Sendong victims.
As you know, Malacanang thru DBM has ordered the recall of the first half of P480-M released before the elections for “technical reasons.” But Gov Degamo proceeded with the bidding and disbursement for the calamity fund from Malacanang.
His reason was that it was urgently needed by the people. And indeed, its timely reconstruction of river control systems prevented further damage in the next typhoon Pablo which also battered this province.
Despite all these, Pres PNOY announced that Malacanang was filing an administrative case against the governor but has withheld details. Degamo on the other hand pre-empted the palace case by filing a separate administrative case against the one who ordered its stoppage.
Since then, after the elections, nothing has been heard about these cases. Thus, with the resounding victory of Degamo, he feels that this province now deserves to be fully assisted , and the remaining calamity fund of P480Million be released soon.
However, in a follow up interview, the Provincial Administrator signalled that the provincial government may, or may not be open to the dropping of the charge against the DBM Undersecretary if this would serve the higher interest of Negros Oriental.
There is also that offer from Manila for Degamo to join the administration Liberal Party. LP stalwarts are frowning on this offer.
But just the same, the Provincial government will do its best to convince the national government to release the P 480 million calamity fund for the rehabilitation of all public infrastructures destroyed by the Tropical Storm Sendong in 2011.
MATTER OF PRINCIPLE
However, on the other hand, for the sake of principle, capitol is not likely to withdraw its case against the Undersecretary of the Department of Budget and Management for alleged “usurpation of authority, “ in the recall order of the first half of P480Million calamity fund.
Provincial Administrator Arnel Francisco said that the decision to sue DBM Usec. Mario Relampagos for issuing a negative Special Allotment Release Order covering the first half of the P 960 million already released and received by the province was a matter of principle.
He believes that the administration will not be inclined to withdraw the charge against Relampagos since it was prompted by the need to hold public officials, even those in high places accountable for their action.
The Governor has been clamoring for the release of the remaining P 480 million so that the rehabilitation projects will continue and can be completed at the soonest.
When asked if the possible withdrawal of the case against Relampagos might actually help facilitate the prompt release of the second and final tranche of the P 960 million calamity fund from the national government, Francisco replied in the negative.
“The bid for the release of the P 480 million representing the first half of the P 960 million aid from the Office of the President is a separate issue, therefore, the case against Relampagos must be given due course,” Francisco explained. (by Dems Rey Demecillo)