Almost a week after the disaster, President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Monday announced that he will realign the government’s savings and release it as calamity fund.
Speaking to reporters, the President admitted that the remaining current balances of the government’s calamity and contigency funds are not enough for rehabilitation of earthquake-devastated areas in the Visayas, primarily in Bohol and Cebu.
For typhoon Pablo alone, Aquino said that they have to spend P11 billion while the government’s calamity fund is only P7.5 billion.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the President said that the current calamity fund has P176 million remaining balance, while the contingency has P824-million left.
But, he noted that the government still has P20 billion savings that can be used to augment the calamity fund.
“Bottom line is, [there’s a request of] P7-billion and savings we have about P20-billion. Iyong kulang, pwede nating kunin from the savings to augment both lines items, which is the contingency and the calamity,” Aquino said.
“So there are savings and the calamity fund is an item on the budget then you can use the savings to fund the calamity and to replenish the calamity and the contingency fund,” he stressed
According to the budget department website, around P1.404 billion of the P7.5-billion Calamity Fund has been spent so far.
Despite of that, the President gave reassurance that “there is no community that is not being taken care of.”
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), he said, has in fact made its second distribution of relief supplies that should last for the next five days.
“[The] food packs at a hundred thousand, a food pack is defined as enough to feed a family of five for three days.. So there are more food packs than there are supposed to be directly affected families,” he added
In a press briefing in Malacañang, the NDRRMC said that the death toll has reached 186, with 173 fatalities reported in Bohol, 12 in Cebu, and one in Siquijor.
The number of injured also increased to 583 injured, with 489 in Bohol, 89 in Cebu, three in Siquijor, and one each in Iloilo and Negros Oriental. Eleven people remain missing. CATHERINE VALENTE