The Finance department said it is ready to tap the $500-million standby loan facility from the World Bank to support the rehabilitation of the regions devastated by Typhoon “Ompong.”
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the loan will be tapped once President Rodrigo Duterte acts on the recommendation from his economic team and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council to declare a state of calamity in the affected areas.
Dominguez said the World Bank’s Second Disaster Risk Management Development Policy Loan With A Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (CAT-DDO2) would provide the government immediate liquidity to help finance its disaster relief and reconstruction efforts, and could be used 48 hours after the President’s declaration of the state of calamity.
A presidential declaration of a state of calamity is required to trigger the release of the funds available under the World Bank loan facility.
In other developments:
• The United States on Wednesday pledged to provide assistance to the Philippine government response efforts in the areas devastated by Ompong.
• Customs collector Carmelita Talusan ordered her men to facilitate all shipment of relief goods at the airport coming from the countries helping the families affected by the recent Ompong.
• Commercial flight operations have resumed at the Tuguegarao Airport, which was shut down over the weekend due to the onslaught of Ompong.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines said in its advisory that the facility officially resumed its commercial operations late Tuesday afternoon.
Dominguez said the Office of Civil Defense convened a technical working group on Tuesday and agreed to finalize a draft resolution endorsing to the NDRRMC a state of calamity in the Ilocos Region, Cagayan, Central Luzon, and the Cordillera Administrative Region.
The NDRRMC would then have to approve the recommendation for the presidential declaration of a state of calamity.
The loan facility, net of the 0.5 percent front-end fee, had an available balance of $497.5 million as of the end of August 2018, Dominguez said.
A presidential state of calamity has not been declared since the second CAT-DDO was extended by the World Bank in 2015, thus leaving this fund untouched.
As provided under the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act (Republic Act 10121), a presidential declaration of a state of calamity can be national or part of the territory, in clusters of barangays, municipalities, cities, provinces or regions.
On the recommendation of National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon, Dominguez said the Finance department, as an executing agency, decided to tap the CAT-DDO-2 facility in the aftermath of Typhoon Ompong. With Rey E. Requejo and Joel E. Zurbano