Press Release
October 24, 2013

DBM gives 'zero' allocation for calamity, resettlement funds
'NHA budget in 2014 GAA not disaster-ready' --Nancy

Senator Nancy Binay expressed her apprehension over the readiness of some government agencies in quick-reaction services in times of national disasters.

Binay expressed alarm over the back-to-back "zero" budget items given by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to the National Housing Authority's (NHA) in the proposed 2014 national budget which essentially crippled the latter's emergency housing and resettlement capabilities.

In the light of the string of man-made and natural disasters that often hit the country, Binay doubts if the government will still be able to provide immediate assistance now that the DBM deleted allocations for the regular resettlement and calamity funds in the NHA's annual budget.

"The NHA has a mandate to provide housing, but if there is no fund to cover emergency assistance to repair damaged houses and resettlement, how would the agency respond to those affected by calamities? How can we be disaster-ready?" the senator asked.

NHA General Manager Chito Cruz, in a budget hearing in the Senate, said that from P621 million earmarked in 2013, the agency requested P1 billion for the emergency assistance program for the 2014 national budget but the DBM instead gave NHA a "zero" budget for the Calamity Fund.

In the same vein, DBM scrapped the item for Regular Resettlement and gave NHA a "zero" budget for 2014. In the 2013 budget, the amount alloted for Regular Resettlement Fund is P4.89 billion.

Binay said both the Regular Resettlement Fund and the Calamity Fund are intended for emergency housing assistance for calamity victims, such as those affected by natural and man-made disasters like the Zamboanga City siege.

Under the emergency program, the NHA extends P5,000 worth of housing materials to residents in calamity areas whose houses were partially damaged. The agency, meanwhile, provides resettlement to those whose houses were totally destroyed.

"There are other national government agencies that has no competency in housing matters but were given a budget allocation, but the DBM did not give an allocation to the very agency tasked to implement the Shelter Program," Binay said.

The NHA submitted to DBM a budget proposal of P24 billion for 2014 but only P10.9 billion was granted overall, covering the housing program for informal settlers in Metro Manila and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel.

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