Baguio City plays Santa to Apayao, Cagayan

BAGUIO CITY — Baguio City is playing Santa Claus to “Tisoy”-distraught Apayao and Cagayan provinces.

The city government will be requesting the City Council to convene for a special session to authorize the grant of financial assistance amounting to P500,000 each to the provincial governments of Apayao and Cagayan as a “big brother’s” aid.

The financial assistance will be drawn from the 30 percent quick response fund of the Baguio City disaster risk reduction and management fund as the funds for such purpose had not been allocated for specific calamity-related projects.

Thousands of families in Apayao and Cagayan were affected by the continuous rains that prevailed over the provinces due to Typhoons Ramon and Tisoy while many areas in both provinces were also isolated for several days due to the numerous landslides along major road lines and the swelling of river systems that rendered many bridges not passable thereby depriving the people of immediate assistance.

Previously, Baguio City provided financial assistance amounting to P1.5 million for earthquake-stricken areas in Mindanao and another P500,000 for similarly situated areas in Batanes. Such funds were also drawn from the unallocated quick response fund which is a component of the local disaster risk reduction fund of the city.

Under the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, local governments are mandated to appropriate 5 percent of its annual budget for disaster risk reduction and management wherein 70 percent will be earmarked for preparedness and mitigation while the remaining 30 percent will be considered as quick response fund.

The city legislative body will be holding its final regular session today, December 16, 2019 to approve the proposed P2.255 billion annual budget of the city government next year and other important items and that it will also decide on when to conduct the special session for the approval of the resolutions granting the financial assistance to the calamity-stricken provinces in Northern Luzon.

The grant of financial assistance to calamity-stricken local governments in the different parts of the country is one of the ways by which the city government would like to reciprocate the enormous assistance it received from local and international donors when it was ravaged by the July 16, 1990 killer earthquake and other subsequent natural calamities experienced by the city. ●