The national government has raised by P2.1 billion the budget it is asking for the Yolanda rehabilitation effort.
Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office announced the revised budget Saturday, a day after President Benigno Aquino 3rd met Cabinet members to identify the priorities in the rehabilitation and reconstruction program.
The initial estimate of P38.8 billion was increased to P40.9 billion “after factoring in the verified requirements for local government buildings and facilities, police and fire stations, as well as public markets,” Coloma said.
Shelter and public infrastructure including roads, bridges, airport, port and other facilities will get a 67 percent share, livelihood/employment, including support to agriculture and fisheries, 12 percent, local facilities, 11 percent, social services including health services, education and training, 9 percent.
“These budget estimates will be subjected to further fine-tuning through validation of initial rapid assessment findings. The DOST is conducting continuing analysis of satellite images to guide on-ground assessment of actual needs,” Coloma added.
The first priority zone will include 171 municipalities in 14 provinces and six regions where the devastation was at its worst.
Of the worst-hit municipalities, with an estimated population of 6.6 million, 63 are in Region 8’s Leyte-Samar island provinces while the other 84 municipalities are in Region VI (Panay Island and Negros Occidental).
“The President emphasized the importance of fine-tuning budget estimates to ensure that every peso is spent wisely, considering the magnitude of government expenditures not just for post-Yolanda rehabilitation and for other calamities including Zamboanga, Bohol and Central Luzon, post-typhoon Santi,” Coloma said.
The House Appropriations panel and Senate Finance Committee have approved the P14.6-billion supplemental budget to enable the government in addressing the impacts from Yolanda, other recent typhoons and the attack on Zamboanga City by the Moro National Liberation Front faction led by Nur Misuari.
LLANESCA T. PANTI