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Gov’t to explain El Niño spending

Faced with allegations of inaction on the Kidapawan incident, the national government is ready to explain to the public and even open its records on the use of public funds intended to mitigate the El Niño dry phenomenon.

Presidential Communications Operation Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. assured the government’s readiness to cooperate with Senate probers on the El Niño funds, adding officials summoned to the inquiry will not be restricted by the Executive branch.

“Laging bukas at handa ang pamahalaan na ipaliwanag at ipa-unawa ang lahat dahil ang apektado ay ang kapakanan ng mga pinaka maralitang mamamayan,” Coloma said.

The use of R900-million El Niño assistance package has been placed on the spotlight after the bloody dispersal of a farmers’ protest rally in Cotabato last week. The farmers were desperately seeking government aid to survive the adverse impact of El Niño dry weather on their livelihood.

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano earlier criticized the Aquino government for failing to release the El Niño funds that could have eased the plight of the drought-stricken farmers.