DBM releases fresh fund for victims of ‘Sendong’By Ronnel W. Domingo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Budget Management has released P336.8 million more for relief efforts for the victims of Tropical Storm “Sendong.”
At the same time, the government has secured a $3-million (about P138 million) grant from the Asian Development Bank to fund “activities relating to the provision of life preserving services.”
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, in a statement, said the amount his department released is on top of the P521.2 million that the Department of Social Work and Development has already received from this year’s calamity fund.
Abad said the fresh fund will be used to start social and community rehabilitation activities for 73,529 affected families in Misamis Oriental, Lanao del Norte, and Negros Oriental.
The budget chief added that, in particular, the fund should allow the DSWD to scale up their quick recovery initiatives and substantially address the basic needs of evacuees, who lost most of the possessions in the aftermath of Sendong.
“For instance, we will have to move very fast in transferring the families currently … in school buildings, so that they can move into proper transitional shelters before school resumes in January 3,” Abad said.
He said that as of December 25, the number of damaged houses stood at 35,022, leaving 13,500 families sheltered in 53 evacuation centers across the affected regions.
From the latest disbursement, the DSWD’s sustainable livelihood assistance program will use P136.2 million for the creation of livelihood strategies to help residents develop feasible income sources.
Also, P12.75 million has been set aside for financial assistance, which will go to families with missing or injured members.
Further, P40.69 million will be used in the cash-for-work initiative, which will provide cash grants in exchange for resident participation in community rehabilitation projects, including the repair of community facilities, clearing of roads, waterway dredging, coastal cleanups, communal gardening, and food production.
In a separate statement, Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said the assistance will complement government resources in rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in areas battered by the recent storm.
According to the ADB, the grant will come from the Asia-Pacific Disaster Response Fund that was established in 2009 to aid “developing member countries impacted by a major natural disaster.”
The amount approved for the Philippines was the maximum amount per event that the ADB allows for each recipient.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council will determine projects the grant will support.