Why gov't is using DAP to help quake victims
MANILA - A Palace official on Friday said calamity and contingency funds of the executive are nearly used up, which is why government is tapping realigned savings in the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program for the relief and rehabilitation efforts of areas affected by the October 15 earthquake in central Philippines.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad earlier said there will be augmentation of calamity and contingency funds as both funds have been depleted by previous calamities such as Typhoon Pablo and the damage to Zamboanga City after the attack by Moro rebels.
"Not fully depleted but certainly not enough to meet the relief and rehabilitation requirements of Zambo and Bohol/Cebu. So we need to tap into savings to augment those 2 items," Abad said in a text message from South Korea today.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte earlier said the government will foot the bill for the rehabilitation of destroyed heritage sites.
Abad explained: "There are certain sites/churches that certain laws allow us to use public funds to rehab, but not all. You have to be declared by the National Commission on Culture and the Arts as a national treasure for example, to receive public funds for maintenance and repair."
Abad could not yet immediately say how much in augmentation funds will be needed.
Valte cited the recent spate of calamities starting from last year. She said several typhoons, habagat rains and the Zamboanga siege have taken a toll on the quick response funds of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
"We have to determine first. The DBM [Department of Budget and Management] is already looking into iyong mga balanse po nung mga pondo natin... I will have to check kung which ones have been used up, which ones still have existing funds. That's why the DBM is already putting it together now para makita ho natin kung ano iyong mga available or possible sources of funds that we can tap for these purposes," she said.
Valte defended the executive's plans to tap realigned savings, dismissing criticism that the executive seems to be using the calamities to hold on to the controversial program.
"That's not blackmail. That's a statement of fact. It is a statement of fact that we tap savings to help the reconstruction in Typhoon Pablo. While it is correct that we have other funding sources given the number of challenges that we've faced this year, among them iyong sa Habagat, sa Typhoon Santi, yung rehabilitation that is necessary in Zamboanga, we do have to look at existing sources of fund for the government that can be utilized for these purposes," she said.