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PIA Press Release

PGMA keen on monitoring rehab programs for Guimaras

by T. Villavert

Iloilo City (11 September) -- Outgoing Incident Commander for Task Force Solar Oil Spill, and outgoing Presidential Adviser for Western Visayas Secretary Rafael L. Coscolluela emphasized that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is very keen on monitoring the rehabilitation programs of Guimaras province.

"This is due to the fact that a large amount of money - P867 Million is involved - and we do not want to see the money used in a wasteful manner or worse, misused," Coscolluela said during the special meeting with the members of Task Force SOS, the other night.

While only a portion of supplemental budget had been released, Coscolluela expressed concern that Director Rosario Cabrera of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) here will be assigned to Region VII, and the OCD VII Director, who has little knowledge of the Guimaras rehabilitation program, will likewise take the OCD VI post.

"What concerns me now is that the incoming OCD Director might have some problems with managing all of the remaining works, given the fact that he knows very little of what we have already done," Coscolluela said.

Coscolluela explained that the President drafted EO 191 abolishing the Task Force SOS and assigned the task of finishing the Guimaras rehabilitation to the National Disaster Coordination Council and the Office of Civil Defense (NDCC-OCD) and in the process gave the job to Gen. Glenn Rabonza, however most of the work will be left to OCD VI.

He said that the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) is now responsible for facilitating, monitoring, evaluating, and reporting the rehabilitation program to the President.

Coscolluela, who has been appointed by President Arroyo to head the Sugar Regulatory Administration, said that there is a lot of money that is supposed to be released before the end of this year.

He likewise suggested to Gen. Rabonza of OCD to organize a special group to make sure that all the rehabilitation programs will be implemented on time and well.

"The NDCC-OCD should have a mechanism to process and handle the problems that may surface," in order to prevent the LGUs quarreling among themselves as to how the supplemental budget for the rehabilitation programs be implemented.

Coscolluela also urged concerned government agencies to translate the lessons learned from the Solar I Oil Spill, by strengthening further the response mechanism, and to focus on maritime safety, effective regulation and accident prevention. (PIA) [top]

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