Senators question slow release of disaster funds to LGUs | Inquirer News

Senators question slow release of disaster funds to LGUs

/ 01:49 PM September 28, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — It may take more than a year before disaster-stricken local government units (LGUs) receive assistance from the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management (NDRRM) Funds, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) revealed on Thursday.

DBM Secretary Amenah Pangandaman revealed this during the Senate Committee on Finance hearing for the agency’s proposed budget next year, amounting to P2.495 billion.

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda asked, “Realistically, what is the quickest time that an LGU that has been affected, devastated, by a natural disaster can access the NDRRM fund, the quickest in your experience, please?”


“Because I know of LGUs that wait for years or perhaps never receive it,” Legarda added.


Pangandaman said: “Ma’am, four months to one and a half years, to be honest.”

“Thank you for your honesty. Through years, and this is not intended to be such,” Legarda lamented.

The DBM secretary also noted that some LGUs could no longer have access to the disaster fund after two years, as provided by the law.

“They can no longer access because there is a two-year period in the law,” Pangandaman said, noting that the local governments of Siargao Island, ravaged by Typhoon Odette in 2021, could no longer access NDRRM funds.

READ: Siargao needs P2.5B to recover from typhoon onslaught, says Surigao Norte lawmaker

Senator Sonny Angara was dismayed upon hearing this, saying, “Meaning if you did not get aid from the government, the government is prevented from helping you. That makes zero sense.”


As of September this year, only P11.2 billion of the P20 billion NDRRM funds remains intact, according to DBM.

The NDRRM Fund has a separate item under the annual General Appropriations Act, in line with the Republic Act 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010.

DBM said the release of the NDRRM fund depends on the recommendation of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) to the Office of the President (OP).

Only after the OP’s approval could the DBM release the NDRRM fund.

Legarda then asked how to expedite the release of the NDRRM funds while complying with the Commission on Audit’s (COA) rules and regulations. Pangadaman responded that there is a need to amend the RA 10121.

“It is provided for in the law. I think we need to amend the current law,” Pangandaman said.

But Legarda said the DBM and OCD should work on coordinating to abbreviate the process.

“Do everything possible that’s not into a legislation to abbreviate the process as long as COA approves it so that the access to the funds would be within three months or less,” she said.


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TAGS: disaster aid, funds, Senate, senators

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