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Guimaras chief hopes to receive additional oil spill fund

June 24, 2008

By Maricar M. Calubiran
The News Today
June 20, 2008

Guimaras Gov. Felipe Nava said they are hoping to receive additional oil spill funds from the national government. He said, of the P800 million oil spill rehabilitation fund, only P100 million was released to the province.

Nava said a team from the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) in Manila arrived in the province last week and assessed the damage brought about by the oil spill.

As far as the governor is concerned, the releases that the national government had made was the P50 million for infrastructure, P25 million for the Department of Social Welfare and Development, P2.4 for the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and more than P4 million for the Department of Health (DOH).

However, Nava is banking on the funds released to the Department of Social Welfare and Development for its cash for work program. The department has still in hand some P100 million for the cash for work program intended for the affected areas.

In one of his visits in Iloilo City, Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya said the national government would only release funds on a case-to-case basis.

Andaya said they are not in a hurry to release any fund without any purpose. The fund should be spent only for rehabilitation purposes and not for anything else. There are proposals from different national government agencies that were disapproved because of its non-relevance.

He stressed out that the fund should not be spent for projects such as road construction which is not in any way related to the rehabilitation of the island as an aftermath of the August 11, 2006 oil spill. The project proponent should give exact and convincing reasons why they should be given funds.

One of those projects that were disapproved by the government is the “food for work” of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Office. There is no need for the government to give allocation to the “food for work” program since the affected residents already returned to their normal lives.

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