Puerto Princesa City mayor Lucilo Bayron during the flag ceremony at the City Hall. (Photo courtesy of the City Mayor's Office)

Puerto Princesa City mayor Lucilo Bayron on Friday justified his decision to prioritize the release of financial assistance to affected residents of northern rural barangays, stating that they were harder hit by typhoon Odette compared to the rural barangays.

Bayron, in a video interview with acting city information officer Richard Ligad, said he decided to immediately disburse the P3,000 cash aid to those affected in the northernmost barangays because not only had they lost their homes, but their sources of income as well.

Bayron was responding to Councilor Peter “Jimbo” Maristela’s call for an inquiry on the fund’s utilization on Monday, stating that those badly affected by the storm in the urban barangays reportedly did not receive the promised P3,000 cash aid.

Maristela also pointed out then the city council’s resolution proposed P5,000-P10,000 per affected family, depending on the amount of damage to their homes.

“Ang sitwasyon kasi, doon kasi sa rural barangays, halos lahat talaga sila tinamaan, ‘di lang ‘yong bahay nila, kundi ang kanila ring mga kabuhayan. Kaya, minabuti natin na bigyan na lang silang lahat. Dito naman sa bayan, ‘yong mga naapektuhan lang ‘yong mga nasira ang bahay, partially o totally. ‘Yong mga hanapbuhay nila, kahit papaano, ay patuloy naman, maliban ang mga nasiraan ng bangka,” Bayron said.

“Kaya hindi sabay-sabay ang pagre-release dahil sa kakulangan ng disbursing officer. Maliban doon, hindi rin sabay-sabay ang pag-process ng kanilang cash advance,” he added.

He said that some P11 million for eight northern barangays have already been distributed by the social welfare office. Affected residents in urban barangays are also scheduled to receive their P3,000 aid on Saturday (January 15), Bayron said.

“Bukas, Sabado, may ire-release ulit, para sa labindalawang barangay. Maghahalaga itong release bukas ng P19,000,473. So kung ito ay ire-release bukas, idagdag natin ang P11-million, ang maire-release lahat-lahat ay P30,000,483,” he added.

Bayron said that an estimated P73-million out of the P250-million allocation will be released to the typhoon victims all over the city.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.