Rehab fund totals P55.4 billion in 2014
Senate President Franklin M. Drilon assured today, Nov. 25 that at least P55.4 billion will be made available to government in 2014 for its relief and long-term rehabilitation efforts on areas hit by recent calamities particularly super typhoon "Yolanda".
"In view of the considerable loss of life and property in several disaster-stricken parts of the country, a calamity response fund amounting to a total of P55.4 billion will be handed at the government’s disposal to perk up its capacity to respond sufficiently and fast to immediate needs of victims of past disastrous events," said Drilon.
The proposed P55.4-billion rehabilitation fund will be sourced from the unobligated funds in the 2013 national budget, unused 2013 Priority Development Assistance Fund which was recently declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and the 2014 national budget.
Drilon explained the House and Senate agreed to pass a P14.6-billion supplemental budget where the source will be the unutilized PDAF and a joint resolution extending for one more fiscal year the validity of calamity-related funds in the current budget amounting to P20.8 billion which remain unobligated by the end of the year.
Drilon noted that initiatives towards the immediate enactment of the proposals are already underway and will hopefully be approved in the coming weeks before the Congress adjourns on December 21.
“The Senate and the House of Representatives will file a joint resolution extending the validity of the P 20.8-billion calamity fund in the 2013 budget for an another year, while the Bureau of Treasury has already issued a certification for the P14.6-billion supplemental budget to be sourced from the unused 2013 PDAF, thereby making them both available for this proposed calamity response fund,” said Drilon.
Once approved, together, these funds will be joined by the previously proposed P20-billion rehabilitation and reconstruction fund under the 2014 national budget, thus the amount of P55.4 billion, he added.
The Senate chief noted the P55.4 billion is on top of the regular appropriations for calamity and quick response funds under the proposed P2.268-trillion national budget for 2014.
“The President has already assured us of his complete support for the urgent passage of these proposed measures, which he will certify as urgent,” he added.
With such a significant amount of funding to be handed at the government’s disposal, Drilon said the government will be fully equipped to rebuild the provinces ravaged by the calamities.
"The intended beneficiaries of these funds are those whose lives, homes and livelihood have been severely damaged by the recent calamities. We owe them our most urgent and prudent response," Drilon emphasized.
The rehabilitation funds will be used mostly to rehabilitate and repair various infrastructure including school building and heritage structure that were destroyed by the past disasters including super typhoon Yolanda that wrought havoc in Central Visayas particularly Leyte, the typhoon Santi and Labuyo that hit Luzon, the siege in Zamboanga City, and as well as the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Bohol and Cebu provinces. (Source: Office of Senator Franklin Drilon)