Senator Bong Go is going all in to increase the national calamity fund but said the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) should be created to handle such a budget.
Go has been pushing for the DDR since the previous administration to unify and streamline all responsibilities related to disaster preparedness and response.
“Bilyon bilyon ang hahawakang calamity fund. Dapat hawakan ng isang departamento lang ito at maging accountable sa paghawak ng pondo. Hindi lang po isang council ang hahawak ng pondo,” the legislator said in an interview during his visit to Cavite flood victims.
Senate Minority Leader Koko Pimentel III earlier said he will support an increase in calamity funds for next year by realigning the confidential and intelligence funds of some government departments and agencies.
“These funds can be used instead to beef up the weather forecasting capabilities, build houses damaged by typhoons and earthquakes, and repair damaged roads and bridges.”
“These funds can be used instead to beef up the weather forecasting capabilities, build houses damaged by typhoons and earthquakes, and repair damaged roads and bridges,” Pimentel stressed.
“It is imperative to pump more funds into disaster and calamity response and recovery programs.”
“Given some 20 tropical cyclones a year and the fact that the Philippines is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, it is imperative to pump more funds into disaster and calamity response and recovery programs,” the veteran legislator added.
Go said agencies have their purposes for the confidential funds.
“Kung ano po ‘yung naaprubahan, mahirap na pong galawin pero hahanap po tayo ng paraan kung paano matulungan ang ating mga kababayan,” the lawmaker said.
One of the senator’s priority measures, Senate Bill No. 188 or the creation of the DDR focuses on three key result areas, namely disaster risk reduction, disaster preparedness and response and recovery and building forward.
The bill provides for the establishment of a Humanitarian Assistance Action Center, a one-stop shop for the processing and release of goods, equipment, and services; remedial measures for areas under a state of calamity, such as the imposition of price ceiling on basic necessities and prime commodities, programming or reprogramming of funds for the repair of public infrastructures, and grant of no-interest loans by lending institutions to vulnerable groups or individuals; a National Disaster Operations Center and Alternative Command and Control Centers to monitor, manage, and respond to disasters; and a Disaster Resilience Research and Training Institute which will offer training, and collect, manage, and share information to improve the country’s resilience.