Recto wants more 'DAP' funds for 2014
MANILA - Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Thursday said there is a need to allocate more DAP or Disaster Aid Projects funds after a "catalogue of calamities" hit the nation.
In a statement, Recto said the proposed P7.5 billion 2014 allocation of the Calamity Fund might not be enough to underwrite reconstruction work in a "country which seems to be hit recently by every tragedy in the catalogue of calamities."
"There's certainly a need for bigger DAP - or Disaster Aid Projects - funds," he said.
"This is the kind of DAP that we need."
The senator said that in the past 30 days alone, the country was hit by a 7.2 magnitude quake, a typhoon that left P3.2 billion in damages, and a failed insurgent takeover of a major city which razed 10,160 homes to the ground.
Recto was referring to Tuesday's tremor which toppled churches and buildings in Central Visayas, Typhoon "Santi" which displaced a million people in 76 towns and 9 cities in Luzon, and last month's attempt by rebel leader Nur Misuari to wrest control of Zamboaga City from the government.
He said the proposed Calamity Fund allocation in the 2014 national budget is not enough to bankroll the repair or replacement of damaged public infrastructure.
He noted that the total Department of Public Works and Highways budget for 2014 for Central Visayas, to which Cebu and Bohol belong, is a measly P5.1 billion.
"Any two-bit carpenter would tell you that this is not enough to repair the public works the earthquake has damaged," he said.
As to the reconstruction of heritage church buildings, the total budget of the National Commission on Culture and Arts for 2014 at P360 million might not be enough to repair "even the facades of the collapsed Baclayon, Loboc and Dauis churches in Bohol."
Recto said Malacanang and Congress should start tweaking the proposed 2014 budget to create budget space for calamity relief work.
"We can increase the Calamity Fund, or create a fund in the DPWH dedicated exclusively for disaster relief, or even introduce a section in the Unprogrammed Fund which would qualify disaster relief as among the activities which can be funded by excess revenues, new loans or savings," Recto said.
"We can even rechannel the dismantled PDAF to disaster work. If we do this, then pork barrel will end up as rebuilding material," Recto said.