Augment LGUs’ depleted calamity funds, urges Sen. Go

Published November 10, 2020, 4:30 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has appealed anew to the Executive Branch to augment the already depleted calamity funds of the local government units (LGUs), especially those still trying to recover from the onslaught of super typhoon ‘’Rolly’’ and typhoon ‘’Siony’’ as new tropical storm ‘’Ulysses’’ threatens to hit the country.

Sen. Bong Go
(Senate of the Philippines / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Dapat pro-active tayo — laging handa. Malaki ang posibilidad na pareho ang dadaanan ng bagong bagyo.  Tulungan po natin ‘yung mga apektadong mahihirap na LGUs na sapat na makaresponde sa krisis at maprotektahan ang mga komunidad nila,’’ Go urged. (We have to be pro-active — always prepared. There’s a big possibility that the new storm will take the same path. Let’s help the affected poor LGUs to adequately respond  to the crisis and to protect their communities.)

Kaya naman po inuulit ko ang aking apela sa gobyerno na i-replenish ang calamity funds ng mga LGUs na apektado ng sakuna. Kailangan nila ng dagdag na pondo pambili ng pagkain, gamot, at iba pang pangangailangan,’’ he said. (This is why I am renewing my appeal to the government to replenish the calamity funds of the LGUs that were affected by the disaster. They need additional funds to purchase food, medicines, and other needs.)

Earlier, Go urged the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to provide replenishment of calamity funds in typhoon-hit areas, particularly in Regions IV-A, IV-B and V, by augmenting their local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund equivalent to one percent of their respective Internal Revenue Allotments (IRAs).

Malaki po ang magagawa ng pondong ito upang mapunan ang mga pangangailangan ng kanilang mga komunidad, lalo na’t naubos na ang kanilang naunang pondo dahil sa pandemya,’’ he explained. (This fund will be of great help in order to fill up the needs of their communities, especially now that their previous funds were already consumed due to the pandemic.)

Magpa-Pasko na. Tulungan po natin ang ating mga kababayan na maibsan kahit papaano ang pagdurusang dulot ng mga sunud-sunod na sakuna sa ating bansa, lalu na’t patuloy pa rin ang banta ng COVID-19,’’ he added. (It’s almost Christmas. Let us help our countrymen minimize their sufferings brought by a series of disasters that hit the country amid the continuing threat of COVID-19.)

Go also suggested that the executive department might explore the possibility for incremental provision of additional funds to severely affected LGUs depending on the extent of the needs of communities and on the availability of funds. 

Aside from augmenting the calamity funds of typhoon-affected areas, Go is also suggesting the establishment of an integrated mechanism for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Department of Agriculture (DA) and other concerned agencies to improve delivery of aid during calamities and crisis situations. 

Go emphasized the need for a holistic response and whole-of-government approach to address the immediate needs of Filipinos in crisis situations.

He argued that concerned agencies should work together as one in order to ensure the timely, efficient and responsive delivery of government assistance. 

While his proposed measure creating the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) is still being deliberated in the Senate, Go expects for the proposed integrated mechanism to streamline government humanitarian response to disasters. 

Senate Bill (SB) 205, also known as the Disaster Resilience Act of 2019, seeks to create the Department of Disaster Resilience.

The proposed department, if created, shall unify and streamline all responsibilities related to disaster preparedness and response that are scattered across various departments and offices. It will focus on three key areas: disaster risk reduction, disaster preparedness and response, and recovery and building forward better.