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PIA Press Release

Isabela City declares state of calamity

By Faisal Saddalani

Isabela City, Basilan (6 May) -- The Sangguniang Panlungsod in a special session yesterday approved resolution no. 10-4164, which declares the City of Isabela under the state of calamity for the purpose of allowing the local and national employees of the City to avail Calamity Loans and other assistance provided by the financial institutions such as the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the PAG-IBIG.

Mayor Cherrylyn Santos Akbar, in her letter, sought the assistance of the legislative body for the passage of the said resolution upon the request not only of the City employees but of teachers and other national government employees as well.

"In order to cushion the impact of El Niņo phenomenon on the livelihood of both the national and local employees of government and also of the private sector, there is a need for the financial institution to extend a helping hand by granting loan to the affected citizenry", the Mayor appealed.

The declaration is in consonance with the Proclamation No. 2022, dated March 12, 2010 of the Office of the President stating that Mindanao is under the state of calamity because of the long spell of draught caused by the El Niņo Phenomenon.

"This will extend assistance to the employees as well as in other barangays of the City who is also affected by El Niņo, and I believe, like Barangay Binuangan, they already declared the state of calamity to help their residents", proponent of the resolution Councilor Susan Yu lamented.

While Councilor Peter Eisma introduced amendment to the proposed resolution that will change the words 'other purposes' into 'for the purpose of loan availment, Councilor Taib Alejo also proposed to include in the whereases' of the said resolution a strict limitation on the disbursement of the 5% Calamity Fund of the City.

"Since the purpose of the declaration is very specific, then, I would suggest that said declaration must be specific that shall bar the disbursement or utilization of the City's calamity funds. This is to prevent any political color against the present administration who might take advantage on this declaration", Alejo said.

Councilor Brown considered the measure as laudable, however, he insisted on the legal formality of the declaration to avoid placing the council for future questions of legal infirmity.

"The proposal is laudable, but, how are we going to use this calamity? Or at least we must have certification from concern agencies as our basis", Councilor Brown asked.

"I am also a farmer and we are blessed that our farmers are not totally affected by the so called effects of El Niņo", he continued.

Mayoralty candidate, Councilor Arnulfo Dans when asked for comment said that Proclamation No. 2022 is dated March 12, 2010 which is already inappropriate for the City if the rationale of the resolution is about the El Niņo phenomenon.

According to him Isabela City is already experiencing rains compared to other parts of the county, but clarified he is not against the proposed resolution as far as that will benefit the employee.

"The assistance that our employees might receive will be for their livelihood and also expenses for enrollment of their children", he stressed.

As amended, resolution no. 10-4161 formally approved by majority votes which states that " A Resolution Declaring A State of Calamity In The Entire City Of Isabela, This Province, To Appropriately Manage The Adverse Effects Of The Long Dry Spell Caused By El Niņo Phenomenon In Consonance With The Presidential Proclamation No. 2022, Dated March 12, 2010 And For Other Purposes For The Local And National Employees In Isabela City To Be Able To Avail Calamity Loans With The PAG-IBIG, GSIS And Other Financial Institution.

The resolution is one of the requirements set by PAG-IBIG to avail of their calamity loan. (PIA9-BST) [top]

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