Local chief executives (LCEs) of Antique province expressed their deepest gratitude to the national government through Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Mar Roxas, who personally facilitated the release of P26 million worth of checks for projects to be funded under the second batch of the Recovery Assistance on Yolanda (RAY II) of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

In her welcome remarks, Antique Governor Rhodora Cadiao recalled that Roxas was the highest government official who went to Antique immediately after super typhoon Yolanda struck the province in November 2013.

Salamat sa mga tulong na ibinigay ninyo sa mga Yolanda-affected areas,” Cadiao told Roxas during his visit to the province last Saturday (June 13).

Culasi Mayor Joel Lomugdang believes that RAY funds are a big help in the speedy rehabilitation of Yolanda-damaged facilities, including the Culasi municipal building, which was quickly repaired using the first batch of RAY funds.

Malaki ang advantage. Lahat ng kailangan ng bayan na naapektuhan ng bagyong Yolanda, kapag mabigyan ka, mare-repair agad. Otherwise, aabutin ng dalawa, tatlong taon siguro,” the mayor said.

As such, Lomugdang thanked Roxas, whom he called “Action Man ng Tuwid na Daan” for his immediate response after the onslaught of Yolanda.

“After one week, naaksiyunan,” Lomugdang said.

Patnungon Mayor Johnny Flores Bacongallo and San Remigio Mayor Glenn Cabigunda also said that the first batch of RAY funds helped in the repair of farm-to-market roads in their respective municipalities, which were damaged during the super typhoon.

Bacongallo said, “Malaking tulong ‘yan [RAY fund] sa amin.

Cabigunda added that aside from farm-to-market roads, other infrastructures were also heavily damaged in their town.

Nag-collapse ang civic center namin pero naka-avail kami ng RAY I, P3 million, so naipatayo na namin. Na-inaugurate na,” said Cabigunda.

He also said that most of their activities are already being held in the civic center and that the people of San Remigio felt happy when it was immediately repaired.

Malaking bagay talaga,” the mayor added.

RAY I funds were used to repair and rehabilitate municipal facilities damaged by super typhoon Yolanda in November 2013.

Under RAY I, the province of Antique received a total of about P25 million. Of the amount, P7.8 million went to the municipality of Barbaza; P2.7 million to Bugasong; P835,000 to Culasi; P1.85 million to Laua-an; P600,000 to Libertad; about P300,000 to Pandan; P3 million to San Remigio; P6.5 million to Sebaste; more than P1.1 million to Tibiao; and P140,000 to Valderrama.

All ten Yolanda-affected municipalities have completed 18 projects under RAY I, including seven municipal halls, six public markets and five civic centers.

Meanwhile, RAY-II funds are intended for the repair and rehabilitation of barangay facilities.

The following LGUs in Antique received RAY 2 funds last Saturday: Barbaza, more than P11M; Bugasong, more than P3M; Laua-an, more than P1M; Libertad, more than P300,000; Pandan, almost P540,000; San Remigio, more than P1.7M; Sebaste, almost P2.5M;. Tibiao, almost P4M; Valderrama, more than P1M; and Culasi, more than P800,000.

Roxas said that RAY is proof that the national government remains by the side of local government units (LGUs).

Mararamdaman sa kongkretong paraan ang kalinga, ang suporta ng nasyunal na pamahalaan [sa mga LGUs],” he said.

He also stressed the importance of the national and local governments working together under the “whole of government” approach of President Aquino.

Magtulungan tayo para sa magandang bukas,” Roxas urged the people.