Nearly 7,000 sign complaint vs Lapu-Lapu City mayor over Odette donations

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 18 2022 05:14 PM | Updated as of Jan 18 2022 07:02 PM

(UPDATED) Nearly 7,000 residents of Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu signed a complaint filed against the locality's mayor on Tuesday over donations to victims of Typhoon Odette.

In a 500-page complaint signed by 6,942 residents and filed before the Office of the Visayas Ombudsman, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard "Ahong" Chan and his administration were alleged to have "resistance and lack of transparency" over the total amount of donations received by the city from the national government and other organizations and agencies. 

According to the complainants, they have read and learned of all the donations coming in, but they have not received any aid from the city government. Most of them reportedly lost their homes during Odette's onslaught in their city last month, but until now, they still do not have roofs over their heads.

Residents said that they have sought the assistance of the city council on the matter but it also failed to provide information during a session conducted earlier this month.

The complainants are now seeking the help of the Office of the Visayas Ombudsman to compel Chan, the city treasurer, city accountant, and city budget officer to give details on the total donations received by the local government.

They also demanded criteria for its beneficiaries, as well as a timeline of giving assistance to the victims. 

The complaint filed against the mayor and his administration was complete with documentation of affected residents who have not received any assistance from the city despite losing homes and livelihood. 

Chan, in a phone interview, said he has not yet received a copy of the complaint but claimed that it was politically motivated. 

The mayor said the city is short on money to help Odette survivors, adding that the council is making it hard for him to release funds.

Chan said that he will answer the matter in the right forum once he receives a copy of the complaint.

Lapu-Lapu City was one of the severely affected areas during Odette's onslaught in the Visayas and Mindanao regions last December.

The strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines last year, Odette displaced over 561,000 people, killed nearly 400 and wounded over 1,100 others, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. 

According to the NDRRMC, some 341,000 houses were damaged while 167,000 others were destroyed, with an estimated cost of at least P28 million.

Damage to infrastructure was estimated at P16.7 billion while losses to crops, livestock, poultry and agricultural equipment was pegged at P5.3 billion.

— Report from John DX Lapid

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