THE LOCAL government of Cebu, ranked as the richest province in the country, will be distributing P5 million to each city and municipality for the rebuilding of houses hit by typhoon Odette, internationally known as Rai.
Cebu Governor Gwendolyn F. Garcia, who has been making the rounds of the province since last week, ordered mayors to prioritize residents’ shelter needs over repairs on public buildings.
Ms. Garcia, in a statement on Tuesday, said the province has enough funds for the relief and recovery efforts and will not be requesting special financial assistance from the national government outside what will be allocated under the emergency budget for affected regions.
“We will not demand (from the national government) since we are (financially) capable,” she said in Visayan.
The governor added that she recognizes that many other affected provinces would require the help.
Cebu was the richest province in 2020 with P208.27 billion in net assets, keeping the top spot from P203.9 billion in 2019, based on the latest Commission on Audit annual financial report on local governments. The province is also debt-free.
Ms. Garcia earlier said that “the distinction of being the richest province must be felt by Cebuanos through projects and programs that would have an impact on their lives, such as good infrastructure, among others.”
Cebu City, the province’s capital and commercial hub, along with the cities of Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue are independent units that are not under the provincial government’s administrative authority.
Cebu province, composed of the mainland and over 167 islands, covers 44 municipalities and six cities.
For next year’s budget, funds will be allocated for radio communication facilities across the province.
The governor said “Odette taught her the importance of going back to basics.”
She said the provincial government will set up a radio base in every local unit and police station to ensure continued contact when commercial telecommunication services are affected by natural events. — MSJ