Election ban hampers drought aid in S. Cotabato
The election ban, which covers government purchases and projects, is hampering the relief efforts of the provincial government of South Cotabato for communities hit by the drought, the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) reported.
South Cotabato has been under a state of calamity since March 21. Damage to crops since November has reached P284 million.
The PIA quoted provincial administrator Danilo Supe as saying that households may not be able to get relief at the moment without clearance from the Commission on Elections.
“We have filed petition for exemption but even this is a very tedious and long process, which may take us until after the elections to complete,” Supe told PIA.
He said South Cotabato’s request for exemption from the election ban prohibition would still have to be assessed before it is approved by Comelec.
He said the entire procedure could take 45 days, which means the residents of South Cotabato would have relief after the May 9 election.
He said the provincial government is speeding up the bidding and purchase of materials in anticipation of Comelec’s go-signal so that aid could be distributed on the second week of May.
The South Cotabato provincial government has allotted P17 million from its Quick Response Fund for El Nino relief operations, including P16 million for the purchase of food packs.
For Soccsksargen and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, PIA reported that the Department of Social Welfare and Development has distributed food packs and is giving cash-for-work for families affected by drought.