By LITO RULONA, Correspondent
THE city council on Monday authorized Mayor Oscar Moreno to enter into an agreement with the Department of Agriculture (DA) so city hall could receive aid from the national government in an effort to cushion the impact of the damages caused by the El Niño phenomenon in the city.
The authority came through a resolution authored by Councilor Annie Daba. The city councilo majority approved the passage of the resolution although it did not declare 25 barangays in the city under a state of calamity due to the onslaught of the El Niño.
Daba, chairperson of the council’s agriculture committee, said the city council was furnished a copy of DA regional director Lealyn Ramos’s letter to Moreno about the Department’s Quick Response Fund (QRF).
According to the DA, the total QRF for the city amounts to P2.055 million. It is intended as rice, corn, vegetable and livestock program assistance.
The DA requested for the submission of the resolution, masterlist of affected farmers with corresponding areas that suffered damages.
In the proposed MOA, the parties agree to mutually undertake the procurement and distribution of seeds, pumps and engines, and drugs and biologics in accordance with some terms and conditions.
It provides that the basis of implementation would be the report of damages of the city government on crops/livestock due to the dry spell from November 2015 to April 2016.
The DA would transfer the amount to city hall for the implementation of the project, extend technical assistance to the farmer recipients, conduct regular monitoring and evaluation of the project and submit reports to the DA Central Office.
But councilors Leon Gan, Teodulfo Lao Jr, Alden Bacal, Ramon Tabor, Roger Abaday and Lourdes Darimbang said only 12 of 25 barangays reportedly adversely affected by El Niño submitted documents.
“We are really more cautious now in declaring a state of calamity considering that can be prone to abuses,” Tabor said.
Gan said the City Social Welfare and Development Office (DSWDO) and the City Agriculture Office (CAO) failed to submit documents on agricultural damages.
“Up to now, we have not received a copy of the name of beneficiaries and the itemized damages, including the report coming from the Department of Agriculture 10 so that we can appraise and compare damages,” he said.
Based on the resolution, city hall would purchase items and supplies based on the listed items and cause the distribution of the same to identified farmers as submitted by the Provincial Agriculture Office and the Provincial Veterinary Office.
City hall is also supposed to keep and maintain the financial records, and submit these to the DA every 10th day of the month after the release of funds.