‘Bulk of Yolanda budget not yet released’
MANILA, Philippines—A bulk of the P100 billion allotted for rehabilitation and recovery efforts in Yolanda-hit areas has yet to be approved for release by the Office of the President, a joint congressional inquiry revealed.
Senator Francis Escudero, on Wednesday’s hearing by the joint oversight committee on public expenditure in the House of Representative, said only P4 billion have been spent.
This forms part of the P100 billion Yolanda rehabilitation effort funds, under the P2.265-trillion national budget ratified for 2014.
Of the Yolanda fund, only P20 billion have been programmed and are among the lump sum appropriations in the budget.
The remaining P80 billion for the reconstruction is part of the unprogrammed fund, and would be sourced from loans.
Escudero hit the slow pace of rehabilitation efforts, noting a lack of urgency among agencies.
During the hearing, Budget Undersecretary Luz Cantor said the funds were not released because it has yet to be approved by the Office of the President.
The funds would be released upon completion of the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) report, which will be the basis for the rehabilitation master plan for the Yolanda-hit areas.
Rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson’s representative had said the government has yet to have a master plan six months since the monster typhoon struck.
But a Philippine Daily Inquirer report said the government does have the PDNA, a detailed two-inch thick report put together by more than 500 people in a three-month period. It was transmitted to the National Economic Development Authority on April 30.