Solon says law on calamity fund infringement on local autonomy

December 7, 2010 2:28 am 

ILOILO CITY, Dec. 6 – The city solon here will soon file a bill in Congress calling for the repeal of Republic Act 10121 that prohibits local government units (LGUs) from using their calamity fund for other purposes.

Rep. Jerry P. Treñas, chairman of the House Committee on Local Government, said the existing law passed only on May 27, 2010, is a direct infringement on local autonomy and contrary to the provisions of the Local Government Code that empowers LGUs to determine their own usage of local funds.

The law, otherwise known as the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, provides for the Local Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (LDRRF) not less than five percent of the estimated revenues from the regular sources to support disaster risk management activities such as but not limited to pre-disaster preparedness programs.

Section 21 of the law also provides that unexpended LDRRF shall accrue to a special trust fund solely for the purpose of supporting disaster risk reduction management activities within the next five years.

Any such amount still not utilized after five years shall revert back to the general fund. Similar provisions are also found in Rule 18, Sections 1, 2 and 3 of the IRR of the law.

According to Secretary Jesse Robredo of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Section 21 of the law will not apply to and/or have no effect on the budget for calamity fund of the LGUs for 2010 since the budget for 2010 was prepared and approved in October 2009 following the existing regulations on budget preparation.

In his letter to Secretary Voltaire Gazmin of the Department of National Defense and chair of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, Robredo said the 2010 budget for calamity fund of the LGUs may not have considered or contemplated the requirement under the new law.

On the other hand, city Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog welcomed the DILG opinion and said there is still hope for Christmas bonuses for city government workers, considering that the money came from the unexpended balance of the city calamity fund.

Mabilog said he is supporting the call of Treñas in filing a bill to repeal the existing law on calamity fund. The city mayor said the law should be implemented next year and not within this year. (PNA) LAP/AJP/LCPendon/vlo

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