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Editorial: Punish the `forgetful’

There is a logical explanation as why local government units (LGUs) set aside a part of their budget for calamity even before an incident could happen.

Under Section 324 (d) of the Local Government Code, LGUs are mandated to appropriate 5% of their budget as calamity fund which can be used for the purpose for the incoming year.

If one has to analyze the provision, the budgetary requirement for calamities is put in place even before the previous year could end so that the LGUs have the money to prepare for these incidents if they eventually happen.

In the case of dry spell, which some areas have been experiencing since, the country’s weather bureau – the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration – has been proactive in providing information about the climate pattern in recent years.

In the past, the weather agency would always be blamed for its supposed lack of foresight.

However, some LGUs tend to forget their roles as the ones that have been vested with the responsibility to plan to mitigate the impact of the problem.

Instead of preparing for the onslaught of the problem brought about by lack of rains, they would use their funds for other purposes and to justify their actions, they would just collude with their respective legislative bodies to declare these as related to disaster mitigation even when these are not.

When calamities strike, they raise their hands in surrender and just call for help from the national government because, either do not have any funds anymore, or they are waiting to use these funds for purposes for which these are not intended. This scheme usually happen during election year like this year.

It is high time for the national government to audit LGUs in the use of their calamity funds and punish those who committed malfeasance. They must remember that those who do good need not be recognized because it is their role, but those who don’t must face the consequences of their actions.x



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