Recto to gov't: Speed up fund release for Typhoon Lando victims
MANILA, Philippines – To help the thousands of victims in areas devastated by Typhoon Lando (Koppu), the government should immediately tap into its unspent funds and speed up requests for fund releases.
"Government aid should not come in trickles but in torrents just like the rain Lando dumped into Central and Northern Luzon," Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto said in a statement on Tuesday, October 20.
Citing data from the budget department, Recto said that there was still P9.6 billion from the government's P13 billion calamity fund for 2015 that may be utilized to help victims of the typhoon, which has left a trail of devastation along northern and central Luzon.
In Nueva Ecija alone, known as the Food Bowl and Rice Granary of Central Luzon, at least P3.5 billion worth of crops were damaged, according to the agriculture department.
The senator urged offices involved in the release of the funds to immediately submit and approve the necessary requests for disbursement.
It is the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council that endorses fund requests to the Office of the President. Approved requests are then forwarded to the budget department for fund release.
Recto also proposed that other agencies with "low absorptive capacity" of funds should consider allocating these funds for Lando victims, "to the extent that budget laws would allow it."
He said that government spending in the affected regions can provide cash-for-work opportunities to many families who have lost their sources of livelihood.
"It will be tragedy if agencies will not be able to spend their allocated funds when there are disaster-hit areas which has a need for them," he added. – Rappler.com