Duterte mulls more aid to fire victims

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/26 April)—The City Mayor’s Office is planning to increase its assistance to the victims of the fire that wiped out eight hectares of residential buildings last April 4 in Isla Verde here.

“I have to talk to the councilors to sort it out,” Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte said in an interview.

Duterte noted that there are still no details regarding the increased assistance.

The city government has already provided fire victims in eight evacuation sites with assistance amounting to P45 million from the city’s quick response fund.

About 3,700 families benefited from the assistance, doled out to the different shelters in the form of food and non-food items as well as cash.

The city’s quick response fund is established for emergency situations, like natural and man-made calamities, and the amount is broken down into P28 million for cash assistance, P13 million for food and the rest for non-food items.

House owners received P10,000 per family while renters and boarders affected by the fire received at least P3,000.

The data was collated by the City Social Services and Development Office.

The quick response fund comes from the city’s calamity fund, which was issued after the council declared barangays 22C and 23C under a state of calamity.

Leomides R. Villareal, Task Force Isla Verde spokesperson, said Duterte is also considering giving more cash assistance to fire victims to help them move from the evacuation centers to a temporary relocation site in Los Amigos, in Tugbok.

Villareal said the funds would help the families get back on their feet as soon as possible but did not specify how much.

The quick response fund comprises 30 percent of the city’s calamity fund, with the remaining 70 percent alloted for disaster preparedness and mitigation measures to help the city prepare for calamities.

The city’s total funding for the quick response fund was only P71 million.

During the city council session approving the release of the funds, City Administrator Melchor Quitain said he had reservations about giving out more than the alloted quick response funds, as this would mean the city has to find other funding in case the quick response fund is depleted.

City Accountant Rizalina Justol, meanwhile, said the local disaster board should recommend to the city council to augment the city’s quick response fund from the preparedness fund.

The lot where Isla Verde is situated is owned by the local government and according to Proclamation No. 85, was declared a human settlement site during the time of former President Joseph Estrada.

Duterte earlier said they will allow informal settlers who lived in the area at the time of the fire to return and rebuild their homes. (MindaNews)