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Legarda Urges Gov’t to Utilize Disaster Funds to Prepare for 3 More Typhoons Before Yearend

November 4, 2015

Senator Loren Legarda urged the government, particularly agencies comprising the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), to use available disaster funds to prepare for up to three more typhoons expected to hit the country before the year ends.

Legarda, Chairperson of the Senate Committees on Finance and Climate Change, made the statement during the meeting she called for NDRRMC member agencies on Tuesday to discuss the issue of unutilized disaster funds.

“According to the state weather bureau, we are expecting three to four more typhoons before the year ends. Agencies with quick response funds (QRF) and NDRRM Fund should efficiently utilize these resources in preparing for the expected natural hazards, particularly by prepositioning basic needs and personnel in affected communities days before the typhoons arrive. There is no excuse not to be proactive because the funds are available, ready to be accessed by the agencies concerned,” she stressed.

The Senator also reiterated her call for concerned agencies to use disaster funds now, especially for Typhoon Lando survivors.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has requested from the NDDRRM Fund for cash for work programs, which usually involve clearing of debris and other rehabilitation work in affected areas.

“This is good, but we can expand this to other livelihood opportunities with the help of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA),” Legarda said.

The Senator added, “The government, particularly the Land Bank of the Philippines, should be more proactive in providing loan assistance to Lando victims, especially for farmers because it is the planting season. We do not want our farmers to be victims twice over—victims of natural calamity and man’s greed such as loan sharks.”

Based on the status report of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on the releases of fund, balance of the 2015 NDRRM Fund or calamity fund is Php10.280 Billion as of September 30, 2015. On top of that, 81% of the QRF or Php5.458 Billion remains unutilized.

“We must be compassionate and more sensitive to the needs of our people. We have the resources and typhoon survivors are suffering, but we are not using the funds. Please utilize the budget allocated for such purposes,” said Legarda.