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Legarda Renews Call for Audit of Post-Sendong Rehabilitation Funds and Donations

July 21, 2012

IN LIGHT OF THE OBSERVED DISPARITY BETWEEN HUGE LOCAL AND FOREIGN DONATIONS VIS-À-VIS THE DISMAL LIVING CONDITIONS OF SENDONG SURVIVORS, SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA RENEWED HER CALL FOR VARIOUS GOVERNMENT AGENCIES AND INSTITUTIONS THAT RECEIVED POST-SENDONG REHABILITATION FUNDS AND DONATIONS TO REPORT IN CONCRETE TERMS HOW FUNDS WERE UTILIZED.
Legarda, the United Nations Regional Champion on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia–Pacific, recently visited Sendong survivors in temporary and permanent housing projects in Barangay Canituan, Cagayan de Oro City. Families living in the relocation sites expressed their need for livelihood assistance and support for basic needs like water and electricity.
“It is apparent that the relocation sites can barely support the basic needs of our fellow Filipinos. They may have survived a disaster but they continue to suffer to this day. And those in evacuation centers may be faring even worse. I am deeply saddened that seven months after Sendong, 3,995 families are still living in evacuation centers,” Legarda said during the site visit.
Legarda noted that PhP 961 million was released to various government agencies from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (Calamity Fund) in 2011 for post-Sendong recovery projects. This is apart from other government funds and the various donations we received from international organizations and foreign governments.
“We received overwhelming support in the aftermath of Sendong. Last December, the World Bank announced the immediate release of 500 Million US dollars to assist the Philippine government’s recovery and reconstruction efforts. And in January, the DFA reported that, apart from the 7.4 Million US dollars raised by the UN following its appeal for international humanitarian assistance, the Philippines also received around 25 Million US dollars in cash donations from other countries and foreign communities. How was this vast amount of donations used?” she said.
“There is a need to determine the total amount and allocation of local and foreign aid received for post-Sendong efforts, the implementing agencies, status of utilization, number of beneficiaries and other measureable accomplishments from the usage of such aid,” she stressed at a press conference during the Collaboration Workshop for the Cagayan de Oro River Basin.
Last March 6, Legarda filed Senate Resolution No. 740 inquiring on the utilization of foreign aid for post-Sendong relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts to ensure aid effectiveness in improving the welfare of Sendong victims.
“We may recall that in 2009, despite the huge amount of foreign aid that poured in for tropical storm Ondoy victims, with US$ 409.5 million worth of direct loans, more than a thousand families still lived in evacuation centers years after the disaster, raising issues on how post-disaster funds, including foreign assistance, were utilized. We cannot allow this to happen again. There must be strict monitoring and transparent accounting of aid for post-Sendong efforts to avoid misallocation and misuse of resources,” she concluded.