Placing the entire country under a state of calamity is timely and rational, and thus deserves the support of the Filipino people. For one, it will allow the local government units as well as the national government agencies to utilize their calamity funds and Quick Response Fund, in accordance with Republic Act 10121 and other pertinent laws.
Having said that, I cannot imagine that concerned local government officials in charge of dispensing those funds can still have gall and malevolent intention of stealing the monies under their control, considering the seriousness of this unprecedented crisis that we are all facing.
Further, the government, for all its disaster preparedness and response efforts, cannot overcome the threat by itself. We must all do our part, whether as workers rendering frontline services, scientists developing ways to deal with the problem, or responsible Filipinos giving support to them while showing understanding and cooperation with measures from the national government and local government units.
There is no doubt we will survive this, as we have done in so many crises before.
The Department of Public Works and Highways regained its slashed P8-billion “pork” in the General Appropriations Act of 2017. Not only that, it got an additional P497 million, at the expense of the Calamity Fund.
Apparently, the P8.557 billion plus another P497 million added to the budget of the DPWH, which increased by P9.054 billion (from P445.766 billion to P454.721 billion), came from the huge cuts suffered by NDRRMF (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund) or Calamity Fund under the Special Purpose Fund, which was reduced from an original budget of P37.255 billion (in the NEP) to a mere P15.755 billion (in the GAA), or a reduction of P21.5 billion.
What is unfortunate is that with massive devastations brought by recent calamities starting with Pablo, Yolanda, Karen, Lawin, Nina, to name some, most of the victims might be left to fend for themselves instead of getting sufficient assistance from the government. Yolanda for example still needs at least P100 billion to fully recover. As then PARR, I recommended a funding of Php167.8 billion and up to now, looking at the annual budget being appropriated for that purpose since 2014, the amount has been a trickle in the bucket compared to the total budget required. Continue reading “On ‘Pork’ in the 2017 General Appropriations Act”→