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Benguet board declares province under state of calamity in special meet

CALAMITY FUND. The provincial board on Wednesday declared a state of calamity for Benguet so it could avail of the calamity fund needed to fix roads, infrastructures said vice gov. Ericson Felipe Tuesday seen here in front of the provincial legislative building. Benguet Provincial Board photo

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The Sangguniang Panlalawigan has declared the province under a state of calamity during a special meeting Wednesday morning.

Benguet vice governor Ericson Felipe convened the board to have the province be placed under a state of calamity to allow access to the calamity fund that can be used to rehabilitate damages including clogged roads that saw some villages isolated after the onslaught of super typhoon Egay last July 26.

In approving Resolution No. 2023-688, the board said: “As reported by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC), the typhoon caused widespread devastation and severe adverse impact on the community, infrastructure and economy of the province. Battering winds and torrential rains brought about by the typhoon have led to severe landslides, flooding, and destruction of properties.”

It added: “The declaration of the state of calamity will enable the provincial government to fully utilize the quick response fund and other disaster-related funds to better respond to the needs of the general public and the efficient restoration of basic services.”

The board noted that the typhoon caused damages to 103 of the 140 barangays among which are houses causing the evacuation of the residents and even loss of lives.

Damages included PhP8 million for the Benguet Electric Cooperative, PhP35 million for the National Irrigation Authority and 24 of the 57 provincial roads as well as to crops and livestocks.

Last Tuesday, the vice governor said the board needed to meet in order to make the declaration and allow release of the funds, which only the board could effect by passing the measure.

Felipe said that with the provincial board declaring Benguet under a state calamity, they can fast track rehabilitating damaged roads and bring relief to the people.

“I don’t have the figures but damages are substantial especially in the northern portion of the province which suffered the most,” said Felipe of the unrelenting rains that caused swelling of rivers and bodies of waters.

Felipe said that damages run in the millions requiring fundings not just from the provincial government but also private individuals including contractors who could lend their equipment in the clearing efforts to restore damaged roads.

“I have already utilized my own equipment to help in the clearing and I even use my own fuel just to fast track clearing operations but we need more (equipment),” said the vice governor, a contractor.

He said that though President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. has allocated funds for the province but it will not be enough to fund the rehabilitation efforts. Pigeon Lobien

 

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