Press Release
December 28, 2011

Legarda to Gov't: Ensure Strict Monitoring and Efficient Delivery
of Aid for Targeted Sendong Victims

As foreign and private sector assistance continue to pour in for Tropical Storm Sendong victims, Senator Loren Legarda called on the government, particularly the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), to ensure that resources benefit targeted victim communities in affected areas.

"Strict monitoring and transparent accounting of aid should be undertaken to avoid misallocation and misuse of resources. The NDRRMC should efficiently coordinate relief efforts of various donors and manage resources that have been pouring in. Effective administration of aid will immensely contribute to the immediate recovery of severely affected communities," Legarda stressed.

The Senator recalled that a year after typhoon Ondoy battered Metro Manila in 2009, more than a thousand families were still living in evacuation centers. "Funding came, but results a year after or maybe even two years after were lacking. We should not let this happen in the case of the Sendong disaster. It is crucial to ask, 'What are we doing with the money so far?'"

Legarda cited several international assistance in the form of goods and cash: the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has given 42,000 tons of aid composed of blankets, jerry cans, and kitchen sets; International aid agency Oxfam is providing P24 million to families in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City; the US government pledged to provide $100,000 (P4.1 million).

Other nations that have pledged support include South Korea ($610,000 worth of aid relief to victims), Denmark (DKK 300,000 or around P2.3 million), Indonesia (about $310,000 worth of cash and emergency relief items, and New Zealand (NZ$500,000 or about P17 million). Various national and local government agencies, and private institutions have also contributed or pledged support for assistance to Sendong victims.

Meanwhile, the Senator also supported the joint flash appeal of the Philippine Government, the United Nations specialized agencies, international organizations and development partners, to raise $28.5 million in aid to cover all the immediate assistance needed by victims of Sendong as shown in the rapid-needs assessment conducted by the national government, in cooperation with the Philippine humanitarian community.

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Legarda echoed the call of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to Philippine embassies and consulates to inform their host governments of the said appeal.

"Aside from making sure that all forms of assistance are efficiently delivered to target beneficiaries, we have to continuously tap external assistance for long-term rehabilitation efforts in communities devastated by Sendong, particularly in Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan City. Families living along the Cagayan River, the Mandulog River, and other high-risk areas must be relocated to safer ground," Legarda concluded.

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