Pangilinan seeks realignment of funds for Odette recovery efforts

Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 30 2021 12:46 PM

Photo of the destruction left by Typhoon Odette in Dinagat Islands during a visit by President Rodrigo Duterte on Dec. 22, 2021. Joey Dalumpines, Presidential Photo
Photo of the destruction left by Typhoon Odette in Dinagat Islands during a visit by President Rodrigo Duterte on Dec. 22, 2021. Joey Dalumpines, Presidential Photo

MANILA— Sen. Kiko Pangilinan on Thursday called for a Senate hearing for possible realignment of P1.4 trillion in unspent funds from the 2021 national budget to augment ongoing recovery efforts in light of the devastation brought by Typhoon Odette.

"The damage in 6 regions is so extensive government must determine what amounts from the P1.4 trillion parked or unspent funds from the 2021 budget need to be realigned to augment the disaster fund," the vice-presidential aspirant said in a statement.

Odette, the strongest typhoon to hit the country this year, left 397 people dead and displaced 561,000 others, according to the state disaster response agency.

Damage to infrastructure was estimated at P16.7 billion while losses to crops, livestock, poultry and agricultural equipment was pegged at P5.5 billion, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said in its latest bulletin.

Pangilinan, who was in Bohol for a relief mission, said the entire year's P20-billion National Disaster Fund would be depleted if used in the province alone.

Bohol Vice Gov. Rene Relampagos said public works funds of 3 district engineering offices for infrastructure projects could be used to buy construction materials for homes.

Bohol Gov. Arthur Yap said Boholanos need GI sheets, nails, chain saws, and other construction materials.

He noted support from the national government had been slow, adding that for 3 days after Odette, he could not contact anyone.

Pangilinan called on oil companies to increase their supply to Bohol.

Bohol 1st District Rep. Edgar Chatto said his constituents still had no electricity, and generator sets were needed especially for water stations.

STRENGTHEN NDRRMC

Yap suggested that a government body, working with the private sector, should be tasked to oversee and give a comprehensive picture of the situation in areas ravaged by Odette and the ongoing relief and rehabilitation efforts.

Pangilinan said the NDRRMC must be strengthened.

“We have yet to see the whole picture of the devastation. We need this to know how to go about our relief efforts. We also need an inventory of the funds we have released so far, how much is still in the coffers and how much is coming in from the private sector, including international donors," the senator added.

Pangilinan urged anew for government to speed up of repair works in the affected ports to normalize the flow of goods such as food, fuel, and building materials in the provinces.

He said truck-loads of relief items have been stuck in ports because of the unavailability of roll on-roll off vessels.

The senator also called on the Department of Trade and Industry to step up its monitoring of compliance to price ceilings, amid reports of overpricing of fuel and other commodities.

"Kung may lesson man tayong matututunan sa kalamidad na ito, ito ay ang halaga ng pagtutulungan (If there's a lesson we should learn from this calamity, it's the importance of teamwork). Government and private sector should work together. We need each other to hurdle this," he said.

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