P6B of Duterte’s promised P10B Odette funds to come from 2022 budget — DBM
MANILA, Philippines — At least P6 billion of the P10 billion Typhoon Odette response funds promised by President Rodrigo Duterte would come from the proposed P5.024 trillion 2022 national budget, a Department of Budget and Management (DBM) official said on Wednesday.
According to Acting DBM Secretary Tina Rose Canda, P2 billion of the P10 billion promised funds are already available under the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Funds (NDRRMF) or calamity fund, while another P2 billion would come from Duterte’s contingency fund.
“For the P10 billion which the President mentioned, the P2 billion is already available under the NDRRMF, which is the long name of calamity fund,” Canda said during Malacañang’s press briefing.
“The next P2 billion is available under the President’s contingent fund, and the remainder of the P6 billion will be available in a couple of days once the GAA or the General Appropriations Act is signed for 2022,” he added.
The proposed budget for 2022, which was ratified by both the Senate and the House of Representatives last December 15, is up for Duterte’s signature. Canda said that the President may sign the said bill before the year ends, or after Christmas and before December 30.
“When is it going to be signed? We expect that the 2022 budget measure will be signed before the year ends, so it’s between after Christmas and until the 29th, these are the days that are open,” Canda added.
After Typhoon Odette ravaged through northern Mindanao, southern Visayas and Palawan, Duterte expressed concern that the government may not have enough funds to address both to the calamity and the looming threat of the COVID-19 pandemic’s Omicron variant.
During his Tuesday night briefing, the President inquired about the effects of the Omicron variant, if it would be more infectious than the Delta variant which is already considered more transmissible. This is because he feared that another surge would require more expenses, while the government’s coffers are currently depleted.
This view that the government’s funds are depleted, however, was countered by opposition critics who pointed out that the government has made a lot of loans. On Tuesday, Senator Richard Gordon urged the President to look at the anomaly involving the Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp., which is accused of siphoning government funds for overpriced pandemic supplies.