Bukidnon declares state of calamity in 4 towns

MALAYBALAY CITY –  (Bukidnon News/20 December 2011) The provincial government of Bukidnon declared Tuesday a state of calamity in the towns of Baungon, Libona, Manolo Fortich, and, Impasug-ong  upon the recommendation of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

The move authorizes the immediate release of about P22.7 million for assistance to victims, including P1.5 million for the victims in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities (see related story).

The amount excludes the budget required to repair roads, bridges, and spillways destroyed by rampaging floodwaters brought by tropical storm Sendong on December 16.
The province has available P31.24 million of the remains of its 2011 calamity funds and about P42.41 million unexpended calamity funds for 2010.

In separate resolutions, the provincial board decided to release about P3 million for immediate financial assistance to victims and families of the casualties. The budget includes burial assistance, clothing, water, medicine, kitchen utensils, blanket, and sleeping mats.

The resolutions were among the last passed by the board in the special session before they went on recess for the Christmas break.
The provincial government also allocated P13.2 million pesos for emergency housing assistance for the 132 families who lost their houses totally to the floods. But board member Rogelio Lago, who is from Baungon, said the victims should no longer be allowed to build their houses along the flood prone areas.

They have also allocated P5 million to assistance for crop and livestock damages.

Arsenio Alagenio, PDRRMC executive officer, said the provincial death toll rose to 39 with 116 persons still missing as of Tuesday morning.

Two other towns, Manolo Fortich and Impasug-ong, were added to the list as progress reports from the towns in northern Bukidnon begin to reach the PDRRMC. Board member Lago said two important and long bridges in Impasug-ong town were also washed out. Manolo Fortich mayor Rogelio Quino also reported that one village has been isolated as a bridge was also destroyed.

The board also passed a resolution asking President Benigno Aquino III, who declared today a national state of calamity, to consider the repair of Cabula Bridge in Baungon town and two other bridges to his presidential fund for bridges.

The PDRRMC estimated damage to provincial government and municipal structures, excluding those belonging to barangays, at P113.28 million.

Board member Lago said the town is no longer isolated as the Calag Road between Libona and Baungon was already partially repaired. But he clarified that only light vehicles can get through as of Monday afternoon.
The deliberations, however, on the resolutions was initially marred by inconsistencies in the number of casualties and families directly affected.  From the 150 families estimated Monday, the provincial board approved the distribution of f immediate assistance kits to 250 families.  (Walter I. Balane)

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