Press Release
November 26, 2013


Senator Chiz Escudero is looking at a P100 billion disaster rehabilitation and reconstruction fund for FY 2014 as the Senate moves to its second reading and period of amendments on the proposed 2014 national budget today.

Escudero, senate finance committee chairman said there is a fiscal space to increase the original Palace proposal for calamity fund amounting to P7.5 billion. The Senate version stamped a P13 billion calamity fund.

He initially proposed for the creation of a special fund for disaster rehabilitation increasing the senate approved version to P20 billion.

"Upon further review of the budget we found more flexibility to further increase the proposed P20 billion rehabilitation funds. It now stands to amount to 100 billion. The component of which are: P80 billion from unprogrammed funds, P20 billion from programmed funds," he explained.

Escudero said there is no telling yet of the amount needed to rehabilitate and reconstruct the areas wiped out not only by typhoon Yolanda but other past disasters as well but initial cost estimates are already staggering.

Latest estimates from the National Disaster Risk Management Council (NDRRMC) pegs Yolanda's damage alone at P22.6 billion, with infrastructure's damage at P11.9 billion and agriculture's at P10.7 billion respectively.

"The cataclysmic force that hit our country requires serious response to influence significant rehabilitation and reconstruction of the communities barrelled by catastrophes. We need to infuse major financial foundation to recoup and retain the physical, economic and social viability of these communities," the senator said.

As this developed, Escudero said the finance committee will begin hearing on Thursday proposed measures on supplemental budget to augment the 2013 disaster relief fund.

This year's calamity fund amounts to P7.5 billion and Escudero and fellow senators said this is already almost depleted to obligate rescue, relief, and rehabilitation and reconstruction requirements of communities struck and displaced by disasters.

"We are on track; we will pass the budget on time. It is critical that we must because this budget fuels not only the entire government machinery but also our capability and capacity as a nation," the senator explained.

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