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Calamity fund still being used, can’t be drained yet – NDRRMC

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council on Tuesday said the “calamity fund” has been and is still being used in various programs, including response actions for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parts of the resource, officially called the National DRRM Fund, still remain but cannot be fully exhausted for now as the rainy season has yet to come, the council said.

In a statement, the NDRRMC said the fund had an original allocation of P16 billion in 2020, but the pandemic prompted it to seek augmentation so it ended up with a total of P22,794,795,698.

According to the council, P3.5 billion was allotted for the recovery of Marawi City which was torn by heavy fighting in 2017 and some P5 billion for repairs in Southern Mindanao and SOCCSKSARGEN which were hit by powerful earthquakes in 2019.

Projects and activities supported by the 2020 fund include reconstruction and repair of some other disaster-damaged facilities in 2018 and 2019, financial assistance for localities affected by typhoons Quinta, Rolly, and Ulysses, as well as augmentation to the Quick Response Funds of agencies that conducted COVID-19 response operations, it said.

According to the NDRRMC, some P9.4 billion or 68 percent of items approved under the Regular NDRRM Fund was utilized for COVID-19.

“To date, the Office of the President has already approved requests and project proposals under the 2020 National DRRM Fund totaling to P19,799,556,479.31. Other proposals and requests amounting to P2.9 billion are in line for processing and approval,” it said.

Meanwhile, the council said that out of the 2021 NDRRM Fund’s P20-billion allocation, some P5 billion was earmarked for continuing support to the recovery of Marawi, some P2 billion for insurance, and P13 billion for the Regular NDRRM Fund.

It said more than P3.5 billion worth of projects and requests have already been approved by the President for the Marawi rehabilitation effort, the repair and rehabilitation of disaster-damaged infrastructures and facilities, and for support to agencies attending to COVID-19 response as well as other disaster response activities in 2021.

Some P4.4B worth of requests and projects are in the process for approval, so a total of PHP 11,953,775,152.36 is still available for use in 2021, according to the NDRRMC.

The available resource is composed of P6.5 billion for the Regular DRRM Fund, P2 billion for insurance, and P3.4 billion for Marawi.

The P2B allotment for disaster insurance remains intact pending the issuance of the guidelines for its use through a joint memorandum circular from the Department of Budget and Management, Department of Finance, and the Government Service Insurance System, the NDRRMC said.

It will be used to pay insurance premiums of government assets against natural hazards, man-made calamities, epidemics, and catastrophes, the council said.

Meanwhile, evaluation of damages and rehabilitation requirements of areas ravaged by typhoons Quinta, Rolly, and Ulysses in 2020 have been completed, with total needs computed to P240 billion.

Of that amount, P35 billion has been identified as to be charged to the National DRRM Fund.

However, the NDRRMC said the rehabilitation program is not yet ready to be funded as implementing agencies are still formulating project proposals.

It said portions of the 2021 Regular NDRRM Fund may be used for that program if project proposals will be completed and approved within the year.

Rehabilitation efforts for damages brought by Quinta, Rolly, and Ulysses can still be supported by the National DRRM Fund for 2022 and 2023, the NDRRMC said.

The 2021 National DRRM Fund cannot be depleted before midyear, as the country is preparing for emergencies during the rainy season, the council added.

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