P3.89 B of Noy’s ‘pork’ allotted for Zambo rehab
Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) - September 21, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The P3.89 billion needed to rehabilitate Zamboanga City following the attack of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels will come from President Aquino’s lump sum funds that some sectors branded as the presidential pork barrel.

“The figure is roughly about (P3.89 billion). Between the contingency and the calamity funds – to which I might add other lump sum funds that were being criticized lately, we have about P6.1 billion presently,” President Aquino told reporters in Zamboanga City on Thursday.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said there was no final figure yet on the damage caused by the crisis in Zamboanga City but the government was ready to rebuild the area at the soonest time possible.

Valte said the emergency need for the P3.9 billion for Zamboanga City’s rehabilitation would hopefully enlighten those questioning the nature and use of the Special Purpose Funds under the executive branch.

“We’ve pointed out in the past that by the very nature of the mandate of the executive, it has to be able to respond to the needs of our people, especially those brought by unforeseen events,” Valte said.

According to Aquino, the government spent P11 billion to rebuild areas devastated by Typhoon Pablo in December last year. He noted there were too many roads, bridges, schools and other infrastructure that were destroyed by Pablo and the funds were drawn from the calamity and contingency funds.

Aquino said they were also preparing the relocation sites for the evacuees, especially those whose houses were burned by the MNLF rebels, aside from relief, educational and livelihood assistance.

He said there would be cash for work, supplementary feeding program and temporary bunkhouses for the residents affected.

Aquino added the relocation sites would be a complete community – with schools, common spaces, basketball courts and other sports facilities.

“Now, this is just a rough estimate and what I’d like to assure the people is we have the necessary funds on hand to take care of that,” Aquino said.

He also pointed out that they were looking for areas that were far from coastlines and would not be risky even in times of disasters.

Aquino appealed to the evacuees to give the government a little more time to clear the areas occupied by the MNLF rebels to ensure their general welfare.

Valte, in a press briefing yesterday, gave specific details on how the P3.89 billion would be used.

Valte said there were 23,794 families affected by the siege that would need relief assistance in the short term, and this would include P250 per pack for every family for 30 days.

 

ABIGAIL VALTE AQUINO BILLION FUNDS MORO NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT PRESIDENT AQUINO SPECIAL PURPOSE FUNDS TYPHOON PABLO VALTE ZAMBOANGA CITY
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