Press Release
December 20, 2013

Drilon: Aquino's speedy signing of 2014 budget means
 timely recovery for disaster-stricken areas

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon today welcomed the signing of the P2.265 trillion 2014 General Appropriations Act by President Benigno S. "Noynoy" Aquino III, saying that the budget's approval "should translate to the timely activation of urgently needed services, particularly the rehabilitation of calamity-stricken areas."

The Senate leader expressed elation over the speedy approval of the national budget, explaining that the president's go-signal means that the funding appropriated to agencies involved in the ongoing relief and rehabilitation efforts "could be implemented and accessed in time by those who need them."

Included in the 2014 budget are authorizations worth P100 billion intended for the completion of various relief and rehabilitation programs on regions of the country struck by natural and man-made disasters in the past, especially those in the Visayas region affected by the destruction left by super typhoon Yolanda, stressed Drilon.

It includes the P20 billion rehabilitation fund and another P80 billion under the unprogrammed fund, which shall serve as standby authority and ready authorization for spending for the foreign donations and grants for victims of typhoon Yolanda, he noted.

On top of the P100 billion, the Congress has allocated P13 billion in calamity fund and P4.8 billion in quick response fund. Earlier also, the Congress approved a P14.6 supplemental budget and extended the validity of the remaining P12 billion 2013 calamity funds by another fiscal year, Drilon added. All in all, there will be about P145 billion funds to made available in 2014 for the government's rehabilitation of areas damaged by the past calamities, he noted.

"In crafting the budget, the Congress took into consideration the need for urgent aid to our countrymen burdened by the damages of disasters. The sizeable amount of funding is absolutely necessary to equip the government in fulfilling its responsibilities to those left helpless by the calamities," Drilon pointed out.

With the budget's approval, Drilon then expressed optimism that the line agencies in the executive would be able to "maximize the allocated funding in service of the Filipino people, to whom the budget is wholly intended for."

"We will exercise our oversight functions to ensure that every single peso in the budget goes towards the benefit of our countrymen," assured Drilon.

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