ILOILO City – To provide immediate relief to residents reeling from water scarcity, Mayor Jose Espinosa III has ordered the city’s Bureau of Fire Protection to deliver water to villages.
“Our top priority now is to address this urgent need of our people. Our main concern is the welfare of our constituents. We should not let politics and personal interests get in the way of public service,” Espinosa said.
The city’s chief executive ordered water rationing following the inaction of political opponents in the Sangguniang Panlungsod to his request to declare a state of calamity which, he said, would have allowed the city government to cushion the impact of water shortage.
“We cannot simply sit in our offices and be remiss in our duties and responsibilities when stricken communities are burdened by water scarcity,” said Espinosa, stressing that the city government must deliver much needed basic social services.
“Opposition councilors” Jay Treñas, Ely Estante, Armand Parcon, Lady Julie Grace Baronda, Irene Ong, and Leila Luntao and Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon said they would boycott today’s city council special session that the mayor called for a declaration of a state of calamity.
On Tuesday during the scheduled regular city council session, they also did not show up. They claimed the calamity fund might be used for political purposes once a state of calamity is declared.
The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) recommended a declaration of a state of calamity to allow the release of funds to be spent for water distribution to 49 affected barangays involving some 25 percent of the total population.
This was in accordance with the guidelines and criteria prescribed for a calamity declaration, stressed the CDRRMC.
As assessed by the disaster council, some P9 million would be allotted from the Quick Response Fund for water provision as short-term solution. This is in contrary to allegations on deliberate spending of P115-million budget.
The transaction will also be transparent, said Espinosa, as it would be done between the city government and Metro Iloilo Water District and subject to the supervision of the Commission on Audit./PN