Duterte OKs release of P1.5 billion to typhoon-stricken LGUs

Duterte OKs release of P1.5 billion to typhoon-stricken LGUs

Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - November 25, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has approved the release of P1.5 billion to augment the depleted calamity funds of local governments affected by Typhoon Ulysses.

Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado said provinces ravaged by the typhoon need help.

Avisado said the release of the funds would be processed immediately.

During a meeting with the President on Monday night, Avisado said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) evaluated damage reports from the Office of Civil Defense and Department of Social and Welfare Development (DSWD).

He said the DBM set aside a P500-million buffer for local government units (LGUs) that might be added to the list of those in need of support.

Avisado said the DBM also allocated another P500 million for 10 more LGUs affected by Typhoons Quinta and Rolly.

This is on top of the P1.5 billion already released by the DBM last week to 16 provinces.

Despite the onslaught of the recent typhoons, Avisado said the government is still prepared to respond to future calamities.

He said the government still has a balance of P10.274 billion under the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council fund.

Last week, the DBM released a circular giving the guidelines for the utilization of the financial assistance given to LGUs affected by the typhoons.

Local governments have until Dec. 31, 2021 to utilize the funds, according to the circular.

Farmers in Quezon province have received P1.42 billion in cash aid to help them recover from the onslaught of the recent typhoons, according to Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

The Department of Agriculture released farm and fishery inputs, machinery, livelihood projects and cash and food aid to thousands of Quezon farmers.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. has earmarked P2 billion for the construction of multi-purpose evacuation centers in typhoon-prone provinces, Pagcor chairman and chief executive officer Andrea Domingo said.

Domingo said Pagcor allocated the amount despite revenue losses due to the suspension of gaming operations.

Meanwhile, the United States has announced an additional $3.5 million (P169 million) in humanitarian assistance for typhoon-ravaged communities in the Philippines.

National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien made the announcement during his visit in Manila on Monday.

Meanwhile, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian has proposed the resumption of face-to-face classes in COVID-free areas or localities where there is low risk of infection.

Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate committee on basic education, arts and culture, made the proposal as learners affected by the recent typhoons await the distribution of new learning modules.

He said it is crucial that recovery efforts work toward the resumption of classes as it gives students a sense of normalcy after disasters. – Mary Grace Padin, Pia Lee-Brago, Louise Maureen Simeon, Cecille Suerte Felipe

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