P15 billion allocated for Marawi rehab in 2018

Jess Diaz and Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star
P15 billion allocated for Marawi rehab in 2018

Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles said of the P15 billion, P10 billion will come from the President’s national disaster risk reduction and management fund (NDRRMF), formerly known as calamity fund. AP/Bullit Marquez, File

MANILA, Philippines — The 2018 national budget President Duterte signed on Tuesday allocates P15 billion for the rehabilitation of war-ravaged Marawi City, the chairman of the House of Representatives appropriations committee said yesterday.

Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles said of the P15 billion, P10 billion will come from the President’s national disaster risk reduction and management fund (NDRRMF), formerly known as calamity fund.

“In addition to that, there is also a P5-billion allocation in the unprogrammed fund of the budget called Bangon Marawi to augment the repair and rehabilitation program in the city to help rebuild what was destroyed and devastated by the terror rebel groups,” he said.

Nograles and Sen. Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate finance committee, also explained the reduction in the calamity fund.

“The NDRRMF is intact. It’s lodged in each agency per their request,” Legarda told reporters.

Nograles said the President had proposed a funding level of P25.5 billion, which included the calamity-related quick response fund (QRF) allocations of nine agencies, “but during the bicameral conference committee meetings it was decided that the QRF allotments which were previously included in the NDRRMF would be transferred back to the departments’ respective budgets as requested by them for immediate implementation in the event of calamities.”

Nograles and Legarda said the allotments transferred were P1 billion to the Department of Agriculture, P2 billion to the Department of Education, P500 million to the Department of Health, P1.25 billion to the Department of National Defense, P1 billion to the Department of Public Works and Highways, P1.25 billion to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, P100 million to the National Electrification Administration and P500 million to the National Irrigation Authority.

“This is a total of P7.6 billion, which must also be taken into account when considering how much funds we have in the national budget to respond to calamity. Remember, these funds were once joined together with the NDRRMF but we decided to disaggregate them and transfer them to the respective departments and agencies as QRF,” Nograles added.

Nograles pointed out that “based on experience, it takes a longer time to release the QRF if we add another layer to the process and lump it with the NDRRMF.” 

“We felt that if we disaggregate the amount and place them in the respective departments, access and utilization of the QRF would be quicker and more efficient and effective,” he stressed.

Legarda also said the 2018 national budget will further boost progress for the more than 11 million farmers and fisherfolk in the country.

She said the approved budget of the DA and attached agencies for next year is P110.075 billion, the seventh highest allocation in the budget.

Citing figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), she noted that agriculture recorded a 4.64 percent growth in output in the first nine months of 2017 due to production gains in the crops, livestock and poultry subsectors.

Legarda also said the gross value of production in agriculture amounted to P382.5 billion, following current prices, a 6.27 percent increase over the previous year’s record.

Legarda said the 2018 budget will strengthen the national programs of agriculture agencies; provide for the equipment, machinery, facility and infrastructure needs of our farmers and fisherfolk; and build their capacity to combat climate change and reduce disaster risks; as well as conduct research and development for the growth of the sector.

Legarda said P20.2 billion is for the national programs for rice, corn, high value crops development, organic agriculture and livestock; and P4.186 billion is for the National Fisheries Program.

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