Residents walk past a destroyed church belfry in Tubigon, Bohol , a day after an earthquake hit central Philippines October 16, 2013.  (MNS photo)

Residents walk past a destroyed church belfry in Tubigon, Bohol , a day after an earthquake hit central Philippines October 16, 2013. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – What could be delaying the rehabilitation of earthquake-stricken Bohol province? Senator Nancy Binay wants to find out.

Binay filed Senate Resolution 983 calling for an inquiry on the alleged delayed rehabilitation in Bohol considering its detrimental effects to the lives of less fortunate and low income families living in the affected areas.

Citing news reports, Binay, a neophyte senator,  said the delay was due to several factors such as lack of technical experts, bureaucratic practices like bottom-up budgeting, and the local government units themselves.

She cited the statement of Maribojoc Mayor Leoncio Evasco, Jr., who said the blame should not be on the mayors of the local government units but on the belated release of the guidelines by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) relating to Bohol Earthquake Assistance (BEA) that would have helped the mayors in planning their rehabilitation programs.

The said guidelines were issued only on August 1 or almost two months after DILG Secretary Mar Roxas and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad turned over P2.4 billion in funds for BEA on June 6 to Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto.

Binay, daughter of Vice President Jejomar Binay, said DILG director Ma. Loisella Lucino confirmed the belated issuance of the guidelines, saying her office received a copy of “Guidelines in the Implementation of the BEA-DILG Fund for the affected LGUs in the province of Bohol” on August 1.

“This is not the time to point fingers or look for personalities to blame for the delay. It is time to positively act towards the rehabilitation of affected areas by exerting efforts that would zero in on the need to fill-up the lack of manpower, streamline the bureaucratic processes and ensure proper information dissemination to the LGUs,” Binay said.

She further said the poor implementation of government instrumentalities in the grassroots level has also been alleged as the cause of the delay attributing it to issues in the execution and delivery of rehabilitation projects.

“Pursuant to good governance, government accountability and social uplifting, it is imperative that facts and circumstances surrounding the government’s slow efforts be examined in order to address the government’s inadequacies and improve as well as fast track the rehabilitation efforts that would benefit the less fortunate and low income families in the affected areas,” said Binay.

Bohol was rocked by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake last year. Several buildings including centuries-old churches, which were also tourism spots, were among the biggest casualty of the earthquake. A year after, the provincial government is slowly picking up the pieces and turning the ruins to opportunities. (MNS)