Calamity Fund can also help disaster-stricken Mindanao areas, says Recto

August 8, 2013 10:32 am 

By Azer Parrocha

MANILA, Aug 7 (PNA) — The P7.5 billion worth of Calamity Funds, according to Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto Wednesday, can aid individuals not just in times of calamities, but also relief and rehab activities.

Recto explained the Calamity Fund, which can also be used for disaster prevention, also finances activities in places hit by armed conflict, insurgency and terrorism.

“If provinces would like to buttress their security as a reaction to a clear and present danger against them, then they can qualify for Calamity Fund assistance,” he said.

He said a great chunk of the Calamity Fund has been "forward deployed" to agencies identified as "first responders to crisis."

Under the General Appropriations Act for 2013, funds have been advanced to six agencies with the instructions that these be used as a Quick Reaction Fund.

These agencies are the Department of Social Welfare and Development (P662. 5 M), Office of Civil Defense (P530 M), Department of National Defense (P352.5 M), Department of Public Works and Highways (P600 M), Department of Education (P550 M), Department of Agriculture (P500 M), and the National Irrigation Administration (P500 M).

Quoting official reports, Recto said 500,000 people have been affected by flooding in at least six provinces and one city in Mindanao.

In Maguindanao, 300,000 residents have been displaced as rivers overflowed from weeks of torrential rain while 26 submerged barangays in Cotabato City have forced 100,000 people out their homes.

Nearby North Cotabato is also reeling from floods, with the town of Tulunan the hardest hit. Davao Norte, Sultan Kudarat, Saranggani and Zamobanga Norte have also reported flood damage.

Meanwhile, Cotabato City and Midsayap, North Cotabato were hit by bombings recently.

Recto said the national government should speed up the release of the funds.

He doubts whether the affected towns, cities and provinces have reserve or contingent funds that can be tapped to respond to the emergency. <p"Hit by flood, bathed with blood. They are fighting there in two fronts and they need all the help they can get and all that we can give,” he said. (PNA)

HBC/ANP

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