Recto: No funds for Yolanda rehab in 2017 budget
Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto on Friday noted the lack of explicit allocations for the rehabilitation of areas devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda in the Visayas three years ago, calling for an “itemization” of related projects under the P37.2 billion calamity fund in the 2017 national budget.
In a statement, Recto said the allocated National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (NDRRMF) “does not earmark any amount for Yolanda rehabilitation despite the huge backlog in deliverables.”
In contrast, the current year’s NDRRMF allocated P18.9 billion for rehabilitation efforts in areas struck by the monster storm in 2013.
“There is still much work to be done in Eastern Visayas but the calamity fund is silent on the rehabilitation deficit, which must be funded,” Recto said.
The lack of a specific “Yolanda earmark” for next year “might be misinterpreted that government has ceased funding the repair of public properties” destroyed by the strongest typhoon in recorded history,” Recto said.
“If reconstruction is still a work in progress, then such must be reflected in the calamity fund to reassure Yolanda victims that what government had promised will be still be redeemed, “ Recto said.
He said a general provision for Yolanda-related rehabilitation projects listing specific amounts allocated to recipient agencies should at least be included in the 2017 budget.
“By listing these, work will be assigned and the public can easily monitor what responsibilities have been given to which agencies,” Recto said.
Earlier this week, Sen. Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate committees on climate change and finance, bared that the Aquino administration had failed to release P20.7 billion of the total P25.6 billion earmarked for shelter support for Yolanda victims.
She attributed the delayed disbursement to red tape as she called on the current administration to pursue rehabilitation projects.