So finally COMELEC Comissioner Sixto Brilliantes steps in and irons out the row between Red Cross and Local Government Units (LGUs). He tells LGUs that the distribution of relief supplies should be administered by the Red Cross in cooperation with the LGUs.
Why the COMELEC? Commissioner Brilliantes invokes the Omnibus Election Code saying that since this is election season incumbent candidates for baranggay elections (which is most of them) cannot be in charge of distribution. In categorical terms he states that distribution of relief goods by candidatets is vote buying, ““Kapag namimigay ka ng [relief] goods, namimili ka ng boto,” And though Mayors and Vice Mayors should be involved in the relief efforts as part of the local disaster council, they cannot hand over the relief goods to the baranggays again due to the incumbent candidates in the towns.
When asked to comment about the row with Maribojoc Mayor Evasco and his calls for equity of distribution, Brilliantes invokes common sense and says that, the goods brought by the Red Cross is privately funded and local government has no jurisdiction over private funds. Equity can be called upon when public funds are involved. Brilliantes likens it to a family member sending support to his family in Bohol and the local government steps in and decides to distribute that to other families for the sake of equity. He says that is not with in the jurisdiction of local government.
Mayors of Bohol towns have acquiesced to Brilliantes directive and have promised to cooperate with the Red Cross in the distribution of the goods.
The PHILVOLCS have sent representatives to towns of Bohol to explain the finer points of the mechanisms of what causes an earthquake at the grassroots level. This is with the aim of addressing the anxiety of Bol-anons regarding various spreading rumors of, a volcano forming underneath Bohol, or that there is an incoming magitude 8.0 quake just around the corner.
Armed with styrofoam models, PHILVOLCS representatives assure that the recent quake has dissipated its energy and that the aftershocks are the earth’s way of stabilizing itself and should not be mistaken for new quakes. PHILVOLCS takes a step further and assures that an earthquake of that magnitude will not take place in at least another hundred years.
Meanwhile, Bohol netizens have given us a picture of on going repairs of the Vital Abatan bridge.
What this will immediately translate to is a quicker distribution of supplies, relief goods and even regular commodities for sale for nearby towns.
Back in Business
The town of Loboc has announced the reopening of its floating river cruise signaling a willingness to reengage in tourism which spells good news for the town’s local economy and the rest of the island as well.