MAKATI City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. has decided to cancel the New Year’s Eve countdown party, usually done with an impressive fireworks display and a free concert, and instead use the P30-million budget for it to help those affected by Typhoon Ruby (international codename: Hagupit).
Binay on Wednesday asked the city council to pass an ordinance authorizing the city government to extend help to the typhoon victims.
He noted that P30 million can go a long way in assisting rehabilitation efforts done by local government units.
This is the fifth time that the city scrapped the party to help those affected by disasters.
Last year, the event was canceled to sympathize with victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda (international codename: Haiyan), especially those who resided in localities identified as Makati’s sister cities. The council allocated P50 million for relief assistance in 2013.
In 2010, the New Year’s Eve party was also called off to focus Makati’s resources on resolving the West Tower oil leak crisis in Barangay Bangkal in the city. A year before that, Mayor Binay shelved the event to give assistance to victims of a big fire in the city and the twin disasters wrought by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng in several parts of the country.
It was also canned in 2005 at the height of the economic crisis.
The city government has been holding the countdown since 2004, making it a tourist attraction.
“We hope the residents and visitors of Makati, especially those who were looking forward to the countdown, would understand and support our decision to again forego it this year. So many of our fellow Filipinos are suffering and they need all the help we can give,” the mayor said.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has identified parts of Western Visayas and Eastern Visayas, Bicol Region and Southern Luzon as among those damaged by Ruby. The towns of Dolores and Borongan in Eastern Samar were tagged as worst-hit. The NDRRMC had said 456,386 families or 2,086,562 people were affected by the typhoon.