Rushed approval

- Councilors back P426.5 million disaster investment plan

The City Council on Monday approved an ordinance endorsing the city government’s P426.5 million Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Fund Investment Plan (LDRRMFIP).

The item was passed in a special session held Monday afternoon, upon the request of city administrator Zuleika Lopez.

While the legislators shot down several wordings in some items, the City Council assured the City Hall that the amount would be the same.

Speaking at the plenary, finance vice-chair Diosdado Mahipus, Sr., amended the exact number of units of aerial firetrucks as well as other number of units proposed for equipment such as backhoes and water purifying units.

According to Mahipus, the removal of the number of exact units would reduce any irregularities in the acquisition of the items.

The amended version no longer included the number of units to remove any semblance that the government was favoring any contractor or supplier, Mahipus said.

The LDRRMFIP comprises a total of P426,468,193.41, according to documents from the committee on finance.

Among the major items highlighted in list of projects is the purchase of aerial ladders for fires, the institution of a card system for around 300,000 families in the city, the purchase of excavators and backhoes, as well as the purchase of water purifiers in times of disaster.

The city is also planning to construct a disaster evacuation center in the second district.

The plan also includes an improvement of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office building.

The total amount for the items to be purchased starting this year amounted to around P312.8 million.

The rest of the amount comes from what was left of last year’s quick response fund, amounting to around P114 million.

Explaining the rush, city planning officer Ivan Cortez said that this week was the deadline for the submission of documents to be awarded the seal of good local governance from the Department of Interior and Local Governance, thus the request to convene the council.

Earlier, councilors questioned the move, and sought an explanation from City Hall why the legislative body was convened in a hurry.

“Is there a life (and death situation) involved that this could not wait until tomorrow?” Councilor Bonifacio Militar said.

The city council resumes its regular session on Tuesday.