DoF commits to fund rehab of Ormoc City
THE Finance Department has committed to assist the rehabilitation of Ormoc City, which was devastated by a magnitude-6.5 earthquake early in July.
In a report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, executive director Helen Habulan of the department’s Municipal Development Fund Office said an initial estimate provided by Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez placed the amount needed for the rehabilitation efforts at P1 billion.
Habulan said the DOF will finance the reconstruction of Ormoc City’s water source and main pipes that were damaged during the quake, the evacuation efforts and the resettlement of three barangays affected by the landslides and aftershocks.
“Mayor Gomez will ask the city council to convene for the required resolution, then we will proceed immediately for appraisal to establish the final amount of loan assistance,” Habulan said.
“Included in the financing are the acquisition of heavy equipment which the city needs for its extensive rehabilitation and acquisition of the necessary materials for the resettlement of affected families,” she said.
Habulan said MDFO and Ormoc officials led by Gomez were already validating and finalizing details on the amount covered by the loan and its amortization schedule.
She said the MDFO would also send a team to Ormoc to conduct a field validation after the office receives the resolution of the City Council on the loan request.
Habulan said the MDFO has placed Ormoc City’s net borrowing capacity at P3.2 billion with no existing loans on record, which makes the city fully capable of repaying its obligations.
The MDFO administers the Municipal Development Fund, a special revolving fund established for re-lending to local government units to enable them to tap funds from local and international sources for the implementation of their respective development projects.
A magnitude-6.5 quake hit Ormoc last July 6, with close to 300 aftershocks recorded. It was the strongest to hit Ormoc in recent years, killing two persons and injuring about 100 others.
The quake also destroyed over 500 houses and damaged 62 others in 12 mountain barangays of the city. The supply of water and electricity to the city were also cut off and are now being fully restored.
President Rodrigo Duterte visited Ormoc last July 14 and assured residents that the government has a rehabilitation plan in place for the city and other areas in Leyte devastated by the tremor.
In another development, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is offering emergency employment to the displaced workers in Ormoc after the damaging earthquake.
Marites Viñas, chief of DOLE-West Leyte Field Office, disclosed that P1.7 million was allocated for the TUPAD program (Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged /Displaced Workers), an emergency employment program of DOLE in times of calamities that follows a cash-for-work scheme.
She said this would benefit some 740 displaced workers in 13 identified villages heavily affected by the earthquake. Beneficiaries will be given 10 working days each, and will be paid a minimum wage of P285 per day, starting July 26 for repair and rehabilitation works.
Prior to the start of the 10-day work program, the DOLE regional office and the local public employment service office facilitated an orientation on occupational safety and health procedures at the City Hall to ensure safety of the workers for the duration of the program.
On the orientation day, DOLE distributed personal protective equipment, inclusive of a uniform shirt and a hat to beneficiaries, and also Ids.
Program beneficiaries are those from the villages of Tongonan, Danao, Cabintan, Gaas, Nueva Vista, Quezon Jr., Milagro, Liberty, Hugpa, San Jose, Matica-a, Cabaon-an, and Bagong Buhay.
The department is also eyeing emergency employment assistance for hundreds of displaced employees of Gaisano Capital, which caught fire on July 23. With PNA