The Department of Budget will release P1.5 billion to local government units (LGUs) affected by the recent typhoons within this week, after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the immediate release of additional funds to provinces hard hit by the storms.
In a press briefing, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado said additional financial aid is on the way as the government will release P1.5 billion to LGUs that suffered the brunt of typhoons Quinta, Rolly and Ulysses.
“Don’t worry, your government has enough funds to address your needs,” he said.
Duterte directed the DBM to cut in half the time spent in processing papers before funds are released.
On Sunday, Duterte said that people have been complaining of delays in receiving assistance, stressing there was a need to “move faster.”
“’That’s the complaint of people, especially when it’s like this. Time is of the essence, actually. They need to get hold of the things.... They need immediate access,” the President said.
Duterte also assured the public that the government is not “negligent” of its duty to provide immediate rescue, relief, and assistance to typhoon-hit communities.
Avisado said the province of Albay has the biggest allocation in the total amount of funds to be released with over P347 million followed by Quezon with P225 million, Camarines Sur with P165 million, Catanduanes with P143 million.
Other provinces that will receive additional funds are Oriental Mindoro, Batangas, Sorsogon, Occidental Mindoro, Laguna, Marinduque, Cavite, Rizal, Camarines Norte, Masbate, Romblon and Palawan.
The DBM did not mention Cagayan Valley and Isabela provinces, or Marikina City, which were hardest hit by Ulysses.
Avisado said the estimated amount of damage and number of affected populations were among the considerations in the release of additional funds.
“That will be released either today, tomorrow or within the week. It will go straight to local government units,” Avisado added.
Isabela 6th District Rep. Faustino Dy V, meanwhile, appealed to the House for additional assistance to his province.
In a privilege speech, Dy said that as he and his fellow lawmakers in Isabela conducted relief operations over the weekend “it became clear to us that our province, and all the provinces affected by Typhoon Ulysses, need all the assistance they can get.”
Dy said he decided to address the House “to speak on behalf of my fellow Isabela lawmakers, to speak on behalf of the people of Isabela––to appeal to your kindness and to humbly plead for your help.”
“In Isabela alone, close to 55,000 families from 322 barangays were affected by Typhoon Ulysses. All in all, the lives of 142,241 Isabelinos were forever changed when this storm hit our province,” he said.
Assistant Majority Leader and Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas appealed to his colleagues to allocate additional funding under the proposed P4.5 trillion national budget for 2021 for the rehabilitation of areas affected by Super Typhoon Rolly and Typhoon Ulysses.
Vargas, vice chair of the House appropriations committee, called the recovery and rehabilitation blueprint for the typhoon-hit areas a “mini-Marshall Plan” that would address the long-term needs of the affected communities such as housing, relocation, agriculture, and employment. The Marshall Plan was the US government’s blueprint for the recovery of Europe after World War 2.
“With the mini-Marshall Plan for areas damaged by Super Typhoon
Rollyand Typhoon Ulysses, the national government can rehabilitate the affected areas swiftly and efficiently. Rehabilitation will not be a piecemeal effort, but a comprehensive endeavor involving government agencies and local government units,” Vargas said.
Vargas also welcomed the directive of President Duterte for government agencies to cut red tape in the release of much-needed relief and rehabilitation assistance for Filipinos affected by Typhoon Ulysses.
“Time is crucial during calamities. Government assistance should be extended as soon as possible so that the rebuilding of lives and communities can start immediately,” Vargas said.
Senator Christopher Go, meanwhile, said the President will sign an executive order within the week to create a task force to speed up and coordinate relief and rehabilitation efforts.
Also on Tuesday, the camp of Vice President Leni Robredo denied the accusations of chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo that she boarded a government-owned C-130 to visit Bicol and to provide relief to typhoon victims.
“Secretary Panelo should get his facts straight," Robredo’s spokesperson Barry Gutierrez said Tuesday.
“It’s sad that Vice President Leni is helping those affected by the typhoon and floods and instead of support, defamation and lies are being thrown. What are they? Public servants or trolls?"
Quoting Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Panelo said the Vice President boarded a government-owned C-130 plane when she went to Catanduanes.
Gutierrez shot back in Filipino: “Who are these? Public servants or trolls?”
In other developments:
* The Department of Labor and Employment said 30,000 informal sector workers from provinces hard hit by Ulysses will get emergency employment from the government.
* The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said it will coordinate with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the infrastructure development in Cagayan province, which was hit hard by massive flooding brought by Typhoon Ulysses.
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