P3.2 billion calamity fund released in May

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star
P3.2 billion calamity fund released in May
An aerial shot shows a flooded village in Tuguegarao, Cagayan province, north of Manila on October 30, 2022, a day after Tropical Storm Nalgae hit. Emergency workers scrambled to rescue residents trapped by floods in and around the Philippine capital on October 30 as Tropical Storm Nalgae swept out of the country after killing at least 48 people.

MANILA, Philippines — The government released a total of P3.22 billion in calamity funds last month as it financed various disaster relief operations, according to data from the Department of Budget and Management.

DBM data showed that the government tapped the national disaster risk reduction and management fund – most commonly known as the calamity fund – last month, releasing some P3.22 billion.

This brought the January to May calamity fund releases to P4.91 billion.

For May alone, the departments of Social Welfare and Development, Agriculture, and Transportation received their first calamity fund allocation for the year. The DA received P1 billion while the DSWD secured P875 million, both of which were meant to replenish the quick response funds (QRFs) of these government agencies.

Based on the law, first response agencies are allocated QRFs in their annual budget. Once the QRF of any agency reaches 50 percent or lower, it can request replenishment from the DBM.

The QRF is used for the reconstruction, rehabilitation or repair of damaged roads, bridges and buildings, among others after every calamity. It is also being used to provide immediate relief to affected Filipinos in certain areas.

Another P342 million was disbursed to the DOTr to cover the response operations following the oil spill in Oriental Mindoro.

The Department of Public Works and Highways also received an additional P1 billion for its QRF replenishment for other types of calamity-related infrastructure projects excluding damaged bridges and school buildings. Total releases to DPWH for the five-month period stood at P2.37 billion.

The remaining calamity fund stands at P18.3 billion, which the government can utilize for various disaster relief operations until yearend.

Last year, P18 billion in calamity funds were released to various government agencies for disaster response. – Romina Cabrera

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