House to propose P5B increase in 2021 budget’s calamity fund—Velasco
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives will be seeking a P5-billion increase under the proposed 2021 budget’s calamity fund for the rehabilitation of areas devastated by recent typhoons, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said Sunday.
Velasco said the House will be proposing this during the bicameral conference on the proposed P4.5-trillion national budget for 2021.
“Given the tremendous damage caused by these successive strong typhoons, it is imperative that we augment the calamity fund in next year’s spending plan. We have to help our people rebuild their lives and their communities,” Velasco said in a statement.
Congress’ lower chamber approved its version of the 2021 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) before Typhoons Quinta, Rolly and Ulysses hit parts of the country.
Velasco, citing figures from concerned agencies, noted that the total damage caused by these strong typhoons to both infrastructure and agriculture stands at P35 billion.
But under the proposed budget for next year, only P20 billion is allocated for calamity funds.
Of this figure, Velasco said P5 billion will go for Marawi reconstruction while P6.25 billion would be augmentation for the quick response funds of the following agencies:
Department of Education – P2 billion
Department of Social Welfare and Development – P1.25 billion
Department of Agriculture – P1 billion
Department of Public Works and Highways – P1 billion
Department of Health – P500 million
Department of National Defense – Office of Civil Defense – P500 million
“That’s a total of P11.25 billion that is specifically appropriated, leaving a balance of P8.75 billion President Duterte could use to help victims of calamities and other disasters. That balance is not even enough to rebuild Bicol, which was hard hit by Typhoon Rolly,” Velasco said.
“Alternatively, we can allocate the additional money in the budgets of the agencies involved in reconstruction and helping typhoon victims,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte has declared the entire Luzon under a state of calamity after three typhoons battered the country’s largest island.
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