DBM releases P28.26-M quick response fund for Albay
CAMARINES SUR, Philippines (UPDATED) – The internal revenue allotment (IRA) of Albay province has been released by the budget department, allowing Albay to tap into their P28.26-million Quick Response Fund (QRF).
On Wednesday, January 24, Department of Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the IRA was released to local government units (LGU) on Monday, January 22, but asked the Bureau of Treasury to expedite the downloading of funds to Albay.
"The IRA of all local government units, including that of the province of Albay, was released on Monday. Normally, the funds would be downloaded simultaneously to all LGUs. However, given the situation in Albay, we made a request to the Bureau of Treasury to expedite the downloading of funds to Albay," said Diokno.
This allows the provincial government of Albay to tap into their local disaster risk reduction and management fund (LDRRMF) which amounts to 5% of the LGU's budget. (READ: Where can you access disaster funds?)
Of the 5% lump sum allocation, 30% is automatically allocated as QRF which serves as a stand-by fund for relief and recovery programs while the rest of the 70% can be used for pre-disaster measures.
The total LDRRMF of Albay for 2018 amounts to P94.2 million, with P28.26 million for QRF and P65.94 million for capital outlays and maintenance and other operating expenses.
The DBM said that the provincial government can also tap into their unutilized disaster funds for the past 5 years which is an estimated P39.2 million.
The release is timely as local government units in Albay are running out of funds to support the needs of over 60,000 people.
Mayor Herbie Aquas of Sto Domingo town said that their coffers are depleting, with the LGU using the remaining 2017 savings while the internal revenue allotment fund for 2018 is not yet downloaded.
“What we are utilizing to support the needs of displaced families of Mayon eruption is the remaining but depleting savings in 2017. We really need the calamity fund,” Aguas said.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Eloisa Pastor, DILG regional director in Bicol, said she asked the DBM to expedite the release of IRA in Albay and received a timely response.
“I called up DBM central office to expedite the release of funds for Albay province because we see the immediate needs of the affected local government units. The DBM promised us that they will be credited tomorrow to the respective banks of LGUs affected by the volcano eruption,” Pastor said.
According to the budget department, the Mayon Volcano eruption has already incurred some P21.2 million in expenses for the Albay government. (READ: Rappler Talk: How serious is the Mayon Volcano threat?)
The DBM also said other national government agencies are monitoring the situation in the province and are providing relief and assistance in their own capacities.
For 2018, national government agencies have an available P7.6 billion in QRF – P7 billion of which has been comprehensively released to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of National Defense (DND), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Education (DepEd), and Department of Agriculture (DA).
Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara earlier asked the DBM to expedite their IRA release so that they can already use their calamity fund. He said that the DOH and the DSWD already provided relief augmentation in affected cities and municipalities.
More than 56,000 residents are now crammed in several evacuation centers in the province as Mayon Volcano continues to show signs of unrest. Vice President Leni Robredo helped distribute some P2.295 million worth of relief goods to evacuation centers.– with reports from Rhaydz Barcia/Rappler.com
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