Draws P4B from WB standby loan, taps P1B from OP contingency fund
Some P5 billion in aid will be released this week to help victims of Typhoon “Odette,” the government said Thursday.
Of these, about P4 billion ($80 million) will come from a World Bank standby credit line to support disaster relief and rehabilitation efforts in provinces devastated by Odette, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said.
“This week, the DOF will draw $80 million from the World Bank disaster financing loan to fund the amount with cover in the 2021 budget,” Dominguez said.
It would draw another $120 million – or about P6 billion—from the same loan facility in the first week of January when the loan cover will be available in the 2022 national budget.
Dominguez issued the statement in response to calls from the Senate for a “cash sweep” of undisbursed funds and savings in state coffers to provide for the relief and reconstruction efforts in Odette-hit areas.
Meanwhile, P1 billion of the P5 billion aid to be released this week will come from the Office of the President’s contingent fund, Budget Undersecretary Tina Canda said.
She said the P1 billion would be distributed to Regions IV-B, VI,VII,VIII, X, and XIII “today or tomorrow at the latest.”
Duterte has promised to raise P10 billion for the rehabilitation and recovery of typhoon-devastated areas.
The Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) announced Thursday it will be releasing indemnification amounting an initial P828 million to farmers and fishermen whose insured crops, farming implements and equipment were wrecked by Odette.
The amount represents the initial estimate of damage largely to standing rice, corn and high-value crops (HVC) in over 63,695 hectares of farms in 28 provinces and six regions.
Other losses include livestock and non-crop agricultural and fisheries assets, mostly small boats or bancas. The damage is subject to further validation by the field personnel of PCIC.
The number of insured farmers and fishermen affected stands at 79,217, about 89 percent of whom come from the Visayas.
Among the affected crops, high value crops (HVC) sustained the greatest damage, at 47 percent of the total estimate or about P389.2 million. Rice accounted for nearly 17 percent at P140.691 million; and corn, nearly 12 percent at P99.129 million.
By size of farms affected, rice topped the list with 28,809 hectares of damaged crops; HVC with 19,156 hectares; and corn, 15,730 hectares.
Among the regions, Central Visayas suffered the most with damage estimated at P464.565 million, or 56.1 percent of the total estimate; followed by Western Visayas with P173.119 million; and Eastern Visayas with P90.159 million.
Caraga sustained estimated losses at P75.299 million, over 9 percent of total estimated damage; MIMAROPA, P18.173 million; and Northern Mindanao, P6.757 million.
PCIC has a standing order to the regional and head office staffs to ensure quick payment for all damage claims, especially in times of widespread calamity.
PCIC indemnifies its insured farmers and fishermen within 20 working days from the date of filing of notice of loss, provided these are properly supported by documents. This time frame is much shorter than the 60 days allowed by law.
Typhoon Odette plowed through the six regions from Dec. 16, when it made landfall in Siargao Island, bringing strong winds with speed from 195 kph to 260 kph and torrential rain. It was the 15th and the strongest typhoon in the country this year.
Also on Thursday, Dominguez ordered the quick and round-the-clock processing of applications for tax and duty exemptions of donations to communities devastated by Typhoon Odette, in response to President Duterte’s directive on expediting relief and rehabilitation efforts in the disaster-hit areas.
Dominguez informed the President that the Department of Finance was ready to quickly process applications for tax and duty exemptions for imported goods to be donated to Odette victims.
On Wednesday, the President and government officials visited Dinagat Island to find out what communities need to recover from the impact of Typhoon Odette.
In a Palace press statement, acting presidential spokesman and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Duterte met with the evacuees and local officials of the area, vowing to “provide the necessary means to speed up clearing operations and help residents reconstruct their homes.”
He said Duterte directed the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to provide financial assistance to the families affected by the typhoon.
Duterte also asked the DSWD to continuously provide family food packs to the typhoon victims.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) was directed to monitor and supervise the distribution of the financial assistance, he added.
The National Housing Authority will provide housing assistance worth P100 million to typhoon victims in Dinagat Islands whose houses were damaged in the storm.
He also urged the Department of Energy to ensure the delivery of gasoline and other petroleum products to the Dinagat Islands.
The National Electrification Administration (NEA) on Thursday announced an initial damage of P1.12 billion from 16 electric cooperatives (ECs) affected by typhoon Odette.
The estimated damages significantly went up from P372.121 million assessed by NEA from 10 ECs on Wednesday.
NEA department manager Ernesto Silvano said restoration activities are ongoing with seven ECs still without power, affecting some 3.65 million households.
These are Negros Oriental Electric Cooperative I, Bohol Electric Cooperative I and II, Cebu Electric Cooperative III, Southern Leyte Electric Cooperative, Camiguin Electric Cooperative and Surigao del Norte Electric Cooperative.
“As far as municipalities are concerned we still have 206 from the 936 to be restored or covered for restoration under the electric cooperatives’ franchises and partially 75 more to be restored,” Silvano said during yesterday’s briefing.
“So as far as ECs are concerned of the 74 ECs that were affected, we are looking at 13 partial power interruptions and seven total power interruptions,” he said.
He said NEA has already received reports from Dinagat Island Electric Cooperative and Siargao Electric Cooperative, bringing the numbers of ECs with no update to five.
Among the ECs, Surigao del Norte Electric Cooperative suffered the biggest damage costing P433.8 million, Bohol Electric Cooperative I at P344.078 million and Leyte Electric Cooperative IV at P143 million.
Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said around 1,200 people are working together to restore power in the affected areas.
“It’s challenging for Bohol because we have two special (transmission) towers that were affected,” Fuentebella said.
He said National Grid Corp. of the Philippines has covered around 80 percent of transmission facilities while the ECs have covered about 30 percent for restoration.
“Since we have a lot of personnel on the ground, we are anticipating that by Dec. 25 we will have more areas that have been energized, especially since private distribution utilities are also helping each other,” Fuentebella said.
The National Power Corp. said there are 27 diesel power plants that are not operational.
These are located in Palawan, Bohol, Guimaras, Dinagat and Surigao Del Norte.
In terms of fuel supply, Fuentebella said DOE, in coordination with Department of Trade and Industry and the Philippine National Police, is inspecting various liquid fuel retail outlets in affected areas in Cebu and Mindanao to enforce compliance on the Consumer Act of Philippines (RA 7394) and would penalize those selling overpriced gasoline and diesel.
In other developments:
Rep. Isidro Ungab of Davao City on Thursday urged the government to make use of the remaining and available Quick Response Funds (QRFs) from various departments and agencies to help raise the P10 billion in aid promised by the President. “The money that can be tapped from these QRFs may be utilized for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the areas ravaged by Odette, including the pre-positioning of goods and equipment needed to give relief and assistance to the calamity victims,” Ungab said.
Converge ICT Solutions Inc. said it installed very small aperture terminals (VSAT) in typhoon-hit Siargao island to provide emergency internet connectivity using satellite broadband technology. The VSAT terminals will power the command center and help support the disaster response and recovery capability of the local government unit as well as the better coordination in the deployment of relief goods.
The European Union and its member states have allocated and delivered rapidly more than € 2.83 million (P160.69 million) worth of humanitarian assistance to the Philippines. This funding (as of Dec, 23) will cover mainly immediate needs through the provision of food, drinking water, shelter and other urgently needed household items, the EU said in a statement.
Photos Danny Pata and AFP