|Dagupan City Administrator Vlad Mata speaks with Dagupenos|
By Mortz C. Ortigoza
DAGUPAN CITY – The administration of Mayor Benjie S. Lim could not be sued criminally and administratively after his administration released P13.1 million of calamity funds after the onslaught of Typhoon Juan without the approval of the Sangguniang Panlungsod in 2010.
City Administrator Vlad Mata debunked critics who said that the released of the funds were illegal.
“That was above board and that was a new law that in August or July RA (Republic Act) 10121 (known as) Disaster Risk Reduction. (Its) Implementing Rules and Regulations was passed in September 2010, the calamity occurred in October 2010. We used that as a calamity fund. Where in RA 10121 wala na iyong requirements (for the City Council) na declaration ng State of Calamity for the releases of the funds,” he explained.
The city administrator said the amount was used to buy goods for stock filling.
Mata said that every year 5 percent of the Internal Revenue Allotment is automatically appropriated for calamity.
Unlike the old law that every time a calamity occurs the mayor need to ask the imprimatur of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council), Republic Act 10121 or known as "Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010“ he noted does not need the chief executive to ask the approval of the council.
Mata said that 70 percent of the fund is devoted to the preparatory program and projects, and activities, and mitigating aspects. While 30 percent is reserved for earthquake response fund. He said that incase the 70 appropriation came short for its purpose, the 30 percent can be tapped even it is intended for the earthquake response.Second paragraph of Section 21 of RA 10121 provides that the 30 percent can also be used as stand-by fund for relief and recovery programs in order that situation and living conditions of people In communities or areas stricken by disasters, calamities, epidemics, or complex emergencies, may be normalized as quickly as possible.
He said that in a regional meeting he attended with national representatives of the Commission on Audit, and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, he asked them if the intention of RA 10121 that authorize the mayor to use the 5 percent without the approval of the Council has already been explained to the personnel of the regional and city COA.
“They said that they will inform them about this new law. Probably, hindi pa nakaka baba na na i-download (memorandum) doon sa regional COA and City COA. Iyon ang intent ng batas. They have to read the intent of the law”.
Lately Mayor Lim received a letter from the regional COA telling him that the disbursement of the P13.1 million funds was illegal because it did not pass the approval of the Sanggunian.
Meanwhile, Mata reacted on the spin of a certain cable TV and the slant of a local newsweekly that Mayor Lim was responsible for the demolition of the illegal settlers of a private lot in Sitio Opot in Brgy. Bonua Gueset.
Mata said the demolition there was a result of a Writ of Execution released by the Court for the sheriff to enforce in behalf of the private owner of the disputed land.
Mata quickly pointed that it was through the altruism and generosity of Lim that the settlers were resettled at Bangus Ville in Brgy. Mamalengleng.