Press Release
September 22, 2010

Legarda to DBM : Where Is The Money?
For Victims Of Ondoy, Pepeng and Santi Still Living In Tents

Senator Loren Legarda in a privilege speech almost a year after Ondoy, asked the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) if it has allocated a single centavo to fund relief and rehabilitation efforts as authorized by Joint Resolution No. 5 which allowed the use of unprogrammed funds in an amount not to exceed Php12 Billion for the relief operations, rehabilitation, and reconstruction of areas affected by natural calamities.

Legarda cited, "The Unprogrammed budget for 2009 was Php75.9 Billion. Of this amount, Php23.5 Billion constituted "Support to Infrastructure Projects and Social Programs" which covered relief, reconstruction, and rehabilitation activities."

"How could it be that one year after Ondoy, Pepeng, and Santi lashed our country, we still have people living in evacuation centers? Is the loss of nearly 1, 000 lives not enough to convince our NDCC-member agencies particularly the DND, DSWD, DILG, DPWH, DBM, and other agencies, that action is long overdue?"

"Ten days ago, Executive Director Benito Ramos of the NDCC announced that the said agency has shifted from a "reactive to a proactive stance. In making this claim, he said more trainings and drills WILL BE CONDUCTED among national government agencies, local government units WILL BE EMPOWERED to deal with calamities and disasters."

Legarda asserted, "Is it not to be expected that corrective measures and preparations should have been carried out immediately after the calamities of 12 months ago?'

"My office has been furnished by NDCC with a consolidated list of funding requests for rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts following typhoons Ondoy, Pepeng, and Frank. The first list involved a funding request of Php 14 billion pesos. These requests have been referred to Special National Public Reconstruction Commission (SNPRC) as of February 2010. The second list totaled Php10.8 billion. As in the first list, all of the requests were marked "pending with the Commission"."

Legarda said these requests involved funding for "early recovery and rehabilitation" projects of DSWD and reconstruction projects of DPWH.

"It is ironic that twelve months after Ondoy, the "early recovery" projects have yet to be funded."

The Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change said initial information gathered by her office indicates the following funding sources:

1. On April 26, 2010, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo and Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Makoto Katsura signed a Yen-loan package worth USD109.8 million in response to the country's request for rehabilitation aid;

2. Another USD 258.6 million was approved by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors last May 20 for recovery and reconstruction as well as for capacity building;

3. Php 5.7 Billion have been recommended to the Office of the President for release for the rehabilitation and reconstruction projects related to the damages caused by Ondoy, Pepeng and Frank by the SNPRC which was created by virtue of Executive Order No. 838 in October last year;

4. Php 8.6 billion released by the government as of March 2010 to jump-start recovery and reconstruction efforts in the sector

"As I speak, 27 evacuation centers continue to exist in many barangays along the shores of the Laguna de Bay (Region 4-A) and several areas in Region IV-A, Region III, Region II. These evacuation centers serve as "temporary homes" to 1,795 families or 9,289 people. DSWD estimates that 42% of them are children."

"We need not look far away. They are just in Antipolo, San Mateo, Angono, Pililia, among many other places just 26 kilometers away from where I stand now. There are thousands more in Pampanga, Pangasinan, Zambales, and Benguet."

Legarda concluded, "We recognize that funding is a major problem. But that problem is multiplied many times over if this funding is not used in a timely and cost effective manner. The losses will be enormous if the programs we undertake do not respond to the lessons learned from the past disasters. "

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