MANILA – Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez on Friday said at least PHP27 billion in disaster-related funding is available in the newly-signed PHP5.024 trillion national budget for 2022.
Rodriguez said the disaster relief funds are sourced from the PHP7-billion contingency fund and the PHP20 billion national disaster risk reduction and management fund in the 2022 budget that the government can tap to aid the victims of Typhoon Odette.
“Our people in Mindanao, the Visayas and in Southern Luzon suffering in the aftermath of the recent strong typhoon are still waiting for government assistance,” Rodriguez said. “We should help them rebuild their homes, livelihood, their communities, and their lives.”
He recalled that President Rodrigo Duterte pledged at least PHP10 billion to be made available to communities devastated by the recent typhoon.
Rodriguez noted that only part of that has been released and taken from the 2021 budget because the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) was waiting for the 2022 outlay to be signed by the President.
“Now that the President has signed the budget, the DBM should disburse the additional funds as early as this coming Monday,” Rodriguez said.
He said aside from Duterte’s PHP10-billion pledge, communities affected by Odette will require billions more for reconstruction.
He cited that the Department of Agriculture has estimated damage to farming areas at more than PHP8 billion, while the Department of Education has calculated at PHP3.4 billion the cost of rebuilding destroyed school buildings.
“Government agencies have their own disaster response-linked funds in their respective budgets. They should use these to help our people in Mindanao, Visayas and Southern Luzon,” he said.
According to the DBM, PHP6 billion out of the PHP10 billion funds pledged by Duterte for the recovery of typhoon-hit areas in Visayas and Mindanao would be sourced from the 2022 national budget.
In his speech, Duterte said the passage of the 2022 national budget reaffirms the government’s strong commitment to providing “a more comfortable and productive life for each Filipino.”
“This will also cement this administration’s legacy of real change for future generations guided by the three main pillars of building resiliency amidst the pandemic, sustaining the momentum towards recovery, and continuing the legacy of infrastructure development,” he said. (PNA)