Senators eye early IRA for calamity areas

Posted at 11/18/13 5:32 PM

MANILA - Two senators are backing the early disbursement of the 2014 internal revenue allotment of local government units devastated by super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

Senators Chiz Escudero and Ralph Recto jointly sponsored Philippine Senate Resolution No. 366 (PSRN 366) asking President Aquino to release in advance portions of the IRA of LGUs to help cities and municipalities rebuild and avoid a broader humanitarian and economic crisis.

"The LGUS in these areas will be primarily dependent on their IRA shares to provide them with the financial capability to cope with rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts," Escudero, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement.

The resolution is also requesting the Chief Executive to tap part of the proceeds from Malampaya for the restoration of electric power infrastructure in provinces severely affected by the super typhoon. The natural gas project in Palawan is expected to yield P26 billion in royalties next year.

Recto said a portion of the Malampaya funds can be channeled to the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) and the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to begin the rehabilitation of small power utilities groups and electric cooperatives in disaster-stricken areas.

Escudero and Recto also want part of the coconut levy fund to be earmarked to coconut farmers whose farms were destroyed by the super typhoon.

The Department of Agriculture earlier placed the typhoon damage on the coconut industry alone at P1.4 billion.