The storage facility in Kalayaan, where the cement sacks are kept. (Photo from Kalayaan LGU)
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The municipal government of Kalayaan has explained that, contrary to a previous claim, less than 10 of the more than 2,000 bags of cement that were meant to be handed to families after Odette’s onslaught have hardened in storage.

The clarification was issued by the town after Larry Hugo, a resident of Kalayaan, alleged in a video clip on July 18 that all cement bags kept in the municipal government’s storage facility had hardened since they were not distributed to residents.

Kalayaan information officer Ariel Carlos said that according to verifications by their Municipal Engineering Office (MEO), less than 10 cement bags have hardened as a result of the recent low pressure areas (LPAs) that delivered rains to their town.

“Hindi maiwasan dahil sa lakas ng low pressure area lately. Yang bilang na yan ay as per the island coordinator namin sa Pag-asa. Secured naman ang bodegang pinaglalagyan. Nakayero at me trapal pa,” Carlos said, adding they were transported to Kalayaan in April this year.

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He said that the cement bags and other construction materials would be distributed to 50 households that must go through a procedure before receiving them in order to repair and renovate their houses on the island barangay of Pag-asa.

Meanwhile, a municipal source asked by Palawan News to comment on the matter said it is already slated for discussion in the municipal council to determine why the cement bags, including steel bars that have already corroded, have not yet been dispersed.

According to the source, they were acquired with P12 million from their local government’s treasury.

“Maliit na percentage lang daw ang tumigas. Pero ang point ay long overdue na after Odette. Bakit di pa napapamigay? Marami na ang bumaba na mamamayan na di na renew ang contract, supposed to be ay beneficiaries pa sila ng mga construction supplies,” the source said.

“Yung mga bakal, nangangalawang na. Kaya medyo malaki ang concern ng ating mga mamamayan,” the source added.

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has been with Palawan News since January 2019. She is its managing editor, overseeing and coordinating day-to-day editorial activities. Her writing interests are politics and governance, health, defense, investigative journalism, civic journalism, and the environment.