TOP OF THE WEEK
NegOr asks 2nd half of P960M calamity fund


Without fanfare and buoyed by the optimism that his action will be justified later, Governor Roel Degamo promptly wrote President Rodrigo Duterte days after his inauguration requesting for the release of the P 480 million calamity fund promised them by the previous administration following the devastation caused by Typhoon Sendong in December 2011.

The amount represents 50% of the P960 million earmarked for the rehabilitation and repair of various infrastructure facilities caused by Sendong to prevent a repeat of the massive flood that inundated communities and claimed the lives of several Negrenses.

The first half (P480 million) was already released but was subject to a legal battle that was decided only last week. And favourably in favour of the provincial government. The Court of Appeals decision resulted in an adverse verdict to that of the Ombudsman who opted to dismiss Degamo from the service for alleged Grave Misconduct due to the alleged illegal use of the funds.

Instead, with the decision just last week, of the Court of Appeals absolving Degamo’s culpability, the Capitol is preparing the supporting documents including progress and accomplishment reports of the 11 projects requested by Department of Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno through Director Carmela Fernan.

Provincial Attorney Richard Enojo said that the release of the second tranche would provide the Capitol the means to fully complete the rehabilitation projects, many of which have already been destroyed by age and time. An unfinished project after five years cannot be expected to withstand the elements.

Some critics say that some unfinished calamity fund projects appeared sub-standared so much so that they were damaged in five years.

Degamo felt vindicated when the Court of Appeals found his action to be prompted solely by good faith and the conclusion that he did not use his position to “procure some benefit for himself or for another person, or extended unwarranted benefits or advantage to private contractors.” (By Dems Demecillo)


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