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Government raises 2016 budget for disaster risk reduction

MANILA, Philippines - The government raised its 2016 budget for disaster risk reduction following the devastating impact of Typhoon Yolanda in late 2013.

 “Our investments in disaster risk management have so far strengthened the resilience of communities most vulnerable to calamities,” President Aquino said in his budget message.

Based on the proposed 2016 national budget, the government has allocated P59.8 billion for the construction of flood control facilities, especially in river basins and major rivers and watersheds.

At the same time, the government has set aside P10.2 billion for the reforestation of 1.5 million hectares under the National Greening Program, and another P5.67 billion as its Quick Response Funds.

The 2016 budget for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund has also been increased by almost three times to P38.9 billion from this year’s P14 billion.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said in a briefing earlier this week nearly P19 billion of total allocation for risk reduction would go to the Yolanda Rehabilitation and Recovery Fund as reconstruction efforts continue in areas destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda.

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 “The calamity fund is meant for contingencies as we do not know when the next calamity will hit the country. Yolanda cost us P170 billion and we’re setting aside almost P40 billion for calamity fund for next year,” Abad said.

As of June, the DBM has released P88.96 billion for rehabilitation and reconstruction of areas devastated by Typhoon Yolanda. The typhoon killed more than 6,000 and destroyed billions of pesos worth of infrastructure and agriculture.

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