Ex-Kalinga dad wants rock netting funds realigned

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TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Former Gov. Jocel C. Baac recently proposed to the public works department to realign the over P600 million previously earmarked for rock netting to bankroll the construction of various isolation facilities provincewide for the isolation and quarantine needs of probable and suspected Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients following the significant surge in the number of cases over the past several weeks.

The former governor disclosed that Kalinga officials should replicate the instant action undertaken by Congressman Jojo Lara of Cagayan who made representations with the public works department to apportion the needed funds that caused the completion of a multi-million isolation facility in Tuguegarao City which is now being used for the isolation needs of COVID cases not only from the said city but also from the different parts of Cagayan.

In the case of Kalinga, Baac stated that it is unfortunate that concerned local officials have prioritized the implementation of rock netting projects in 6 sites around the province which are not even considered to be environmentally-friendly because of the cutting of trees prior to the installation of the net that has an alleged questionable quality.

He claimed that local officials should be conscientious in looking for the welfare of the people of the province, particularly those who need to be confined in isolation centers after being tested positive of the deadly virus because it is not advisable for them to undergo home isolation due to possible spread of the virus to the members of their families, relatives and neighbors leading to uncontrolled outbreaks in the province in the future.

According to him, if local officials were sensitive enough to the needs of the people during the pandemic, then they should have allowed some of the funds provided for rock meeting to be realigned to fund the construction of several isolation centers and the put up of the province’s own molecular laboratory so that swab specimens will not be brought to Baguio city and other nearby provinces with such facilities just to be tested for the deadly virus.

Baac narrated he was a witness to the difficulties of COVID patients in undergoing home isolation because of the absence of sufficient isolation centers in the province, thus, the need for local officials to consider the realignment of the funds earmarked for rock netting as this project could wait for later to give way for projects of utmost priority, like the building of isolation centers and other related facilities to enhance the province’s COVID response efforts.

He also stipulated that the installed nets along roads are unsightly because instead of witnessing trees, shrubs and herbs that grow on the mountain slopes, the same had been removed to give way for the nets with doubtful quality and with alleged poor workmanship by the contractors who were awarded such projects to implement.

He appealed to the people of Kalinga to join him in his cause of convincing provincial officials and officers of the public works department to realign portions of the funds for rock netting to fund the put up of various isolation units and to improve the condition of health facilities to cater to the increasing demand of such services due to the increase in the number of people infected with the virus provincewide. By HENT