Governor Art Yap’s executive assistant Kevin Damalerio, who was earlier declared persona non grata by the Ubay local government unit (LGU), is once again in hot water after issuing misleading information claiming that there was no rice aid sent from Bukidnon to Ubay in the aftermath of Typhoon “Odette’s” onslaught.
Damalerio showed a document from the Provincial Government of Bukidnon which denied that they sent rice aid to Bohol. While it is true that the province did not send aid to Ubay, Damelerio’s statement was misleading considering that it was the town of Quezon in Bukidnon that sent aid to Ubay, not the province.
The Capitol official posted the statement on his Facebook page on March 11. The post appeared to have gone viral with over 4,000 shares but upon checking, it was found out that most of the shares were repeated postings made by apparent troll accounts on random Facebook groups and walls.
In response to Damalerio’s allegation, Quezon, Bukidnon Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (MDRRMO) chief Paul Abalde in an interview over station dyRD on Tuesday clarified that they indeed sent 100 sacks of rice to Bohol in the aftermath of Typhoon “Odette.”
“Actually ang local government sa Quezon particularly ang atong mayor directed the public safety department particularly the MDRRMO to prepare relief goods para paingon didto gani dili sayon-sayon ang among pag-abot dinha,” Abalde said.
Abalde said that the MDRRMO, on the orders of Quezon Mayor Pablo Lorenzo III, shipped the sacks of rice from Jasaan, Misamis Oriental on December 27, 11 days after the typhoon hit Bohol.
It took a while for the MDRRMO to ship the rice sacks as there were no available vessels.
“It was December 25 when I went to Cagayan de Oro City para mangita og barko na sakyan pero unfortunately for the next days wala na gyud, puno na ang mga barko, pero wala gyud mo surrender ang among mayor. He directed me to a port in Misamis Oriental to look for a fishing vessel na makargahan nato. So nakakita gyud mi ug mapasalamaton kami sa tag-iya kay wala magpabayad,” said Abalde.
He also noted that they were buffeted by strong winds and large waves, causing the boat to almost capsize.
The waves battered the vessel causing some of the sacks of rice to get wet.
“On 27th of December at 11 p.m. naghinay-hinay na ang fishing boat. Paingon sa Jagna unta among tuyo na mo dunggo mi. Kusog g’yud kaayo ang balod. Ang target sa kapitan is moabot mi after six to seven hours pero unfortunately nakadunggo mo sa Loay port at 10 a.m,” said Abalde.
“Grabe ang balod hapit pa gyud mi natuwad samtang nagkamulo og dagan particularly duol sa Camaguin. So dili gyud sayon ang among naaigan mao naay mga relief goods na nangabasa gyud,” he added.
Damalerio highlighted in his post that Aumentado, in an earlier interview with station dyRD, said that the sacks of rice were donated by the Bukidnon province.
He called out Aumentado for issuing the incorrect statement which indicated that the rice sacks came from Bukidnon province instead of Quezon, Bukidnon.
Other sources including Ubay information officer Larry Evangelista had pointed out that it was the Quezon, Bukidnon LGU that sent the rice sacks. However, Damalerio who was a former member of the Capitol’s communications arm, did not indicate if he had also tried to verify with the Quezon LGU if they indeed sent rice to Ubay.
Aumentado, for his part, downplayed Damalerio’s allegations.
“Mismo ako nagtug-an man gyud ta na naggikan na sa Bukidnon, ako ang information gikan lang pud sa LGU kuwang lang sila og pagpahibaw nako na gikan diay na sa usa ka lungsod, na Municipality of Quezon, Bukidnon so ako in good faith pud ko ning hatag og information tungod kay nagkainit naman ang maong estorya na amo kunong gibinuangan ang taga province,” said Aumemtado.
What went before
Damalerio’s statement was directed at Aumentado who, along with the Ubay LGU, earlier said that sacks of rice that were found wet and stored at a gymnasium in Ubay in January were not from the provincial government of Bohol, but from Bukidnon.
“Bakak ni Aris Aumentado, Bistado!” Damalerio said in a statement posted on his Facebook account on March 10.
In January, Damalerio accused Aumentado of blocking the distribution of rice aid from the Capitol to the residents of Ubay, saying that the solon directed town officials not to accept aid from the provincial government.
In Facebook post, Damalerio alleged that the Ubay LGU merely stored relief goods from the provincial government but did not distribute these.
Damalerio, along with the statement, posted photos and videos of the alleged relief goods from the Capitol which were stored in a town-owned facility.
He also alleged that it was a “congressman” who directed town authorities not to accept food aid from the provincial government which were damaged after these were drenched in rainwater.
Although Damalerio did not name the lawmaker, it was apparent that he was referring to Aumentado whose jurisdiction includes Ubay and who is challenging Yap for the gubernatorial seat in the May polls.
The allegations were both denied by Aumentado and the Ubay LGU which, in turn, declared Damalerio persona non grata for his false statement.
Evangelista then said that the rice sacks which Damalerio was referring to were not from the provincial government.
He said that these were from the Quezon, Bukidnon LGU and some of which were already wet during transit before these were received by the Ubay LGU at the port of Loay.
“Naa tay video na magpamatuod na dawat na nato didto sa Municipality of Loay. Imbis na sa Jagna mo dunggo, tungod sa kakusog sa bawod na divert ang gamayng barko padung sa Loay,” said Evangelista.
The LGU tried to determine if some of the wet rice sacks could still be distributed to the public but the town’s nutrition officer decided against this since they could no longer identify which were not drenched in seawater as some may have already dried up.
“Gisuwayan og save pero wala mo sugot among Municipal Nutrition Action Officer kay tubig sa dagat maoy nakabasa adto unya wala ta kahibaw pila ka hours na, so ang safety sa atong katawhan ang iyang gihuna-huna,” he added.