Press Release
November 28, 2013


As the government pools resources to aid victims of typhoon Yolanda, the Senate stamps its approval of a supplemental budget to augment the current calamity fund to cover relief, rehabilitation, repair and construction requirements in areas ravaged not only by typhoon Yolanda but also by past calamities like typhoons Santi and Labuyo, the 7.2 magnitude earthquake and the Zamboanga siege.

The senate finance committee urgently approved Senate Bill No. 1938 (SBN 1938) which was principally filed by Senate President Drilon. The bill appropriates P14.6 billion to be carved out from suspended priority development assistance fund (PDAF) which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Senator Chiz Escudero, chairman of the senate committee on finance said "the re-aligned utilization of the P14.6 billion supplemental fund will be used principally to augment two items in the 2013 budget, namely the quick respond funds (QRF) of various agencies and the President's calamity fund."

Escudero said the whole amount is appropriated to the following departments with critical rehabilitation functions:

- Department of Agriculture (repair and rehabilitation of irrigation system)
- Department of Education (repair and rehabilitation of school buildings)
- Department of Energy (rehabilitation of electrification infrastructure)
- State Universities and Colleges (repair and rehabilitation of academic buildings)
- Department of Health (1. Repair of DOH hospitals, 2. Purchase of health equipment)
- DPWH (Repair, rehabilitation of roads, bridges, government buildings and infrastructure)
- National Housing Authority (purchase of relocation sites and construction of housing units)
- Department of Transportation and Communications (repair/rehabilitation of airports and ports) and;
- Local Government Units (1. repair of rural health units and hospitals, 2. Rehabilitation programs)

He said the government critically needs all the fiscal adjuncts to effect the resurgence of communities burrowed in disasters.

Escudero explained that the supplemental budget measure was complimented with the approval at the same time of Senate Joint Resolution No. 5 (SJtR 5) extending the validity of the unspent funds in the 2013 budget for another year so it can be utilized for calamity and calamity-related expenditures.

During today's hearing of the above measures, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio Abad said the 2013 budget still has a balance of P12 billion coming from various agencies.

"Under the existing budget, the fund is only valid until December 31, 2013. We extended its validity until December 31, 2014 but to be used only for calamity-related programs and projects," Escudero said.

He added that they placed safeguard measures to ensure that there will be transparent and proper utilization of the augmented funds like: 1.) Reportorial requirements on the part of DBM and the implementing agencies by posting in their respective websites, 2.) Reportorial requirements to Congress and the Commission on Audit (COA) and 3.) Imposition of maximum penalty to anyone who misuses funds as provided for in the Revised Penal Code, the Anti-Graft Law and the Plunder Law.

News Latest News Feed