june 10, 2014

RDR’s disaster chief delays SP calamity declaration

SP to declare state of calamity more than 4 months after Agaton
The assistant provincial administrator and at the same time the head of the provincial disaster preparedness management office of Davao del Norte apologetically admitted before the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in session Monday that it was him who was responsible in the delay of the SP’s supposed declaration of the state calamity for the six municipalities and Tagum City hard hit by the low pressure area that intensified into tropical depression Agaton last January.

Romulo Tagalo, PDRRMC head Davao del Norte

Romulo Tagalo, PDRRMC head Davao del Norte

Appearing in session following his no shows for two sessions after he was invited by provincial board, assistant provincial administrator Romulo Tagalo finally appeared before the body and acknowledged responsibility over a paper snafu which resulted why the SP has not yet made a declaration of a state of calamity more than four months after typhoon had badly wrought parts of the province.

He said that it was only last Thursday that the non-existence of the SP state of calamity declaration cropped up when the Provincial Welfare and Development Office asked for it from Tagalo’s office.

Tagalo is also acting as the head of the provincial information office and according to Capitol insiders a trusted chief at the nearest beck and call of Governor Rodolfo del Rosario.

PSWD officer Arlene Semblante, according to Capitol sources, asked for it to be needed as supporting legal paper to official office transactions relating to the use of the remaining amount of the provincial budget for disaster preparedness and mitigation.

Apparently, the sought state of calamity declaration has put SP in awkward situation as declaring a state of calamity after the calamity had long happened.

But the SP had not made a declaration in due time as the copy of resolution of the Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CCDRMC), of which the governor is the chairman while Tagalo is a member, has not reached to the SP.

The resolution recommended to the SP for the declaration of state of calamity over the Agaton-stricken areas in the province that included the municipalities of Kapalong, Carmen, Asuncion, BE Dujali, New Corella, Sto. Tomas and Tagum City. It was dated January 11, 2014.

Tagalo said that last Thursday he and OIC provincial administrator Norma Lumain searched the resolution which ought to be handed to the PADO (Provincial Administrator’s Office) on endorsed date March 6, 2014.

“It was only received last Thursday,” Tagalo said.

The SP was discussing with the invited resource persons on the proposed Memorandum of Agreement between the provincial government and Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration(PAGASA). The MOA was referred back by the SP to the office of origin for asking for donation than a usufruct use of a lot inside the Capitol complex.

Tagalo submitted the draft MOA to the SP which he himself on Monday’s session asked that it be withdrawn after Board Member Joey Millan reminded him that the provincial government is only granting right to use through deed of usufruct with other government agencies in areas within the Capitol complex and not by ceding areas “gratis et amore” or by donation.

For that Tagalo said, “I plead ignoranc e of the implications of the terms.. .all the more we have to withdraw (the MOA from the SP).”

Tagalo admitted that the sketch plan showing the 1,500-square-meter lot that PAGASA wanted donated has yet to be finalized.
The provincial legal office earlier made an opinion that the MOA is not suffice as there is a need to obtain an SP resolution authorizing the governor to enter contract with PAGASA.

SP Floor Leader Hernani Duco then pressed on that since Tagalo was already around, “we have to make use of his time to explain to us.”

When an item slightly relating to the calamity declaration was taken up, Tagalo draw out his prepared paper asking apology for the delay of the SP resolution caused by the loss of the CCDRMC’s resolution during the referral process.

He apologized for his “shortcomings”and reasoned there was “a glitch” and “an honest mistake.”

But he mentioned without naming his administrative officer whom he said he had delegated the task of referring the resolution.
Asked by Board Member Joey Millan asked, “if we declare, saan gagamitin?”

Tagalo responded, “di ko natanong” referring to PSWDO Semblante.
He through hinted that the PSWD might want it in the use of the 30-percent share of disaster mitigation from the total disaster preparedness budget.

Millan said he found it “grey and serious” that the SP would be making a delayed declaration of state of calamity four months after.

“It’s better late than never,” the board member said, and then he asked Tagalo if he was amenable that the one of the whereas of the delayed resolution should state the “cause of the delay.”

Tagalo replied, “yes we have to place it explicitly to be aware of our shortcomings.”

“I found it grey and serious to declare four months after… Sana di na maulit ito,” Millan countered.

But Tagalo is leaving to Australia to attend a scholarship grant which would start June11, 2013 and end on July 14, 2015.

Asked earlier by Board Member Ely Dacalus how he would do it to finalize the MOA with PAGASA with the limited time he has. Tagalo said he has some people around who can do the job for him (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

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