Abad assures gov't can give aid to all quake victims
MANILA -- Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Butch Abad on Friday assured that the government is ready to give relief aid to all victims of the massive quake that hit Bohol and nearby provinces in Visayas last October 15.
In a statement, Abad said that aside from the P1 billion from the 2013 calamity and contingency funds, an estimated P2.3 billion in Quick Response Funds (QRFs) under different implementing agencies can also be mobilized.
He explained that QRFs are standby allocations that represent pre-disaster funds to immediately provide assistance to disaster-stricken areas.
These are built-in appropriations in the budgets of implementing agencies, namely the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of National Defense (DND), Office of the Civil Defense (OCD), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
QRFs under the OCD and DND amount to P554 million and P326 million, respectively, while the DepEd and DA have respective QRFs amounting to P455 million and P196 million, he said.
Meanwhile, the DSWD has roughly P200 million remaining in QRFs while QRFs under the DPWH amount to roughly P600 million.
"We are completely attuned to the urgent plight of families and communities in areas damaged by the quake. The administration is already tapping the proper fund sources to provide quick and sufficient assistance to those affected by this disaster," Abad said.
"Besides the Contingency and Calamity funds that can be used for this purpose, QRFs under agencies will likewise allow us to begin rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts at the soonest possible time," he added.
The budget secretary also said that a request has already been sent to President Benigno Aquino III to draw additional calamity funds from government savings.
"We have identified sources in our savings to efficiently augment both our Calamity and Contingent funds to provide additional support as needed. This request will still require the President's approval. As far as funding the relief and rehabilitation operations in Bohol and Cebu is concerned, we shouldn't meet any problems, as the government is fully prepared to deliver swift relief assistance wherever it's needed," Abad said.