Bohol town mayor complains of slow help from national gov’t

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/12 August) – The national government has been slow in implementing rehabilitation works for Maribojoc town in Bohol, Mayor Leoncio Evasco Jr. of the quake-devastated town said Tuesday.

“We feel that we have been forgotten after Yolanda,” Evasco said, referring to the super typhoon that hit Eastern Visayas weeks after the quake that struck Bohol and Cebu.

In an interview Tuesday at the launch of Participatory Guarantee System for organic products at the Ateneo de Davao University, Evasco said his town has yet to recover almost a year after the disaster.

He hit the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for allegedly delaying the assistance for the reconstruction of the earthquake devastated areas.

He said that had national agencies informed them of the delay, they could have started working on their own.

The mayor said that so far the national government had only reached the “policy side” of the rehabilitation.

He cited the P2.3-billionBohol Earthquake Assistance fund, which he said would have helped rebuild the municipal hall, health centers and other government structures.

Evasco said the earthquake totally damaged 1,443 structures, partially damaged around 2,700 and slightly damaged at least 1,000 others.

“Most of the affected structures were in Maribojoc,” he said. “We want to start building homes for the survivors because we don’t want them to become reliant on relief goods.”

He said none of the houses have been rebuilt due to slow response from the national government.

He questioned the DILG for reportedly allocating funds for the barangays without communicating with the municipal government.

“We questioned it because the situation on the ground is very different from an airconditioned office in Metro Manila,” Evasco said. “They know that the barangay has no experts such as engineers and planners, then why were the funds immediately channeled to them?”

He said the move was “designed to cause a rift between barangay captains and local government unit leaders.”

He said the local government had to fend for itself in terms of immediate relief operations after the disaster, reconstruction, and psychosocial rehabilitation for those who suffered trauma from the incident.

Evasco noted that the disaster opened up opportunities for skilled workers who could be employed in the rebuilding of houses.

He said that along with USAID, Plan International, and DSWD, the municipality has trained carpenters, welders, plumbers and masons who would help in building homes through a cash-for-work scheme.

He said his estimate on the cost of each house, P40,000, was around half of the national government’s estimate for a “resilient, typhoon-resistant” house, pegged at P100,000 per unit.

“There is no such thing as a ‘resilient’ house when it comes to the wrath of God and the Nature that you abuse,” he said.

Evasco made headlines last year for stopping a Red Cross relief team from directly distributing goods to a barangay.

The agency had reportedly refused to course the distribution through the local government.

Bohol received P6 million in assistance from the city government last year, P1 million of which went to Maribojoc.

Evasco once served as city administrator under Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. (MindaNews)