No bets, kin allowed in disaster aid distribution

TAGBILARAN CITY – Newly-assigned provincial election supervisor Jerome Brillantes clarified that candidates in the coming elections and their relatives are strictly prohibited from distributing aid to drought-affected farmers due to severe continuing El Nino.

It was learned that Comelec issued Resolution No. 3479 or the Rules and Regulations Governing Public Works Ban and Release, Disbursement and Expenditures of Public Funds. Under Section 1, paragraph 2 of the resolution provides that “no candidate or his or her spouse or member of his family within the second civil degree of affinity or consanguinity, shall participate, directly or indirectly, in the distribution of any relief or other goods to the victims of the calamity or disaster.”

Recently, the provincial government declared the province under the state of calamity.

Brillantes yesterday said in an interview at his office that the distribution could be done via Red Cross or the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) apparently to prevent bets from taking advantage of the aid or relief goods distribution.

He said that Comelec en banc has already given the exemption to these agencies.

Capitol officials are very careful in handling and use of calamity fund to help cushion the impact of El Nino that’s now wrecking havoc to farmlands and livestock. The damage is now placed at Php300 million plus.

Provincial board member Atty. Abeleon Damalerio issued the statement in an interview with DyTR following the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) unanimous approval of a Resolution placing the province of Bohol under the state of calamity.

“Aron di ma-foul,” is how Damalerio, agriculture committee chair of the SP, described the precautionary move in the use of calamity fund.

Calamity fund in every local government unit could not be use or disbursed without first securing a legislative measure, like a Resolution, placing such LGU under the state of calamity, a former kagawad said.

Damalerio said that the passage of the said Resolution will be in accordance with the existing parameters and guidelines and other rules and regulations.

The social welfare department of the province would be the one to handle the distribution of aids to the El Nino-affected municipalities in a bid to help the farmers affected by the calamity, he said.

This scheme must be in order so that the use of said fund would not be interpreted as election kitty of the present administration. He said that the office of the provincial agriculture has provided the officials with data on the extent of the damage.

There are about 27 towns who submitted their respective damage reports but he could not provide the exact amount of the damage, including livestock. (rvo)

Provincial Election Supervisor Jerome Brillantes

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