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Execs asked to account for P30B in lahar funds

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   CLARK FIELD, Pampanga - The Mount Pinatubo Commission was asked to submit a financial report on the more than P30 billion released by the government to the commission.
     Central Luzon congressmen, during a consultative meeting this week, have asked the MPC officials to account for the money spent for the rehabilitation of Mt. Pinatubo devastated areas here and the more than 50,000 families displaced by its eruption and subsequent lahar flows since 1991.
     In reaction, newly installed MPC executive director, Julio Arambulo, asked the Commission on Audit to audit the funds released to the commission and its forerunner, the Mt. Pinatubo Task Force, totaling P13.5 billion in 1991 and P10 billion in 1995, and other cash assistance and donations from the President¬ís calamity funds, the National Disaster Coordinating Council, and private organizations.
     Congressmen from Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales, led by Tarlac Rep. Jesli Lapus, pledged to support Arambulo¬ís program to give priority in providing livelihood to some 50,000 families who were displaced by the Mt. Pinatubo eruptions and subsequent lahar flows.
     Most of these families are now relocated in 233 resettlement communities established by the MPC in Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales.
     Arambulo told the lawmakers that most of the resettled families need income generating projects for their livelihood.
     The lawmakers said they approved the MPC plan to shift its major thrust toward food production and other agriculture based ventures in the resettlement communities.
     The MPC was originally set to be dissolved next month but former President Fidel Ramos extended its operation to two more years until 2000.

Ashley Manabat, PDI Central Luzon Desk 

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