The Aquino administration will earmark a P2.3 billion Quick Response Fund for earthquake-ravaged Bohol and Cebu provinces, a Palace official said Saturday.
Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte made the announcement a day after opposition lawmakers from the House of Representatives led by Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez of Leyte urged President Aquino to certify the bills which seeks to grant P40 billion financial aid to Bohol and Cebu as urgent.
The P2.3 billion Quick Response Fund is sourced from the budget of various government agencies namely: Department of Public Works and Highways (P600 million), Department of National Defense (P326 million), Office of the Civil Defense (P554 million) Department of Education (P455 million), Department of Agriculture (P196 million) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (P200 million).
The 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Bohol and Cebu provinces last October 15 already left at least 186 people dead, 583 people injured and 46,000 structures damaged.
“We would like to assure the public that we have enough funding to aid the earthquake victims. The Quick Response Fund is incorporated in the budget of a certain government agency so that it can easily and speedily extend assistance to disaster-hit areas,” Valte said in a radio interview over state-run Radyo ng Bayan.
Likewise, Valte allayed fears of oil spill in Panglao beach in Bohol which is one of the country’s top tourist destinations.
Valte, citing reports from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) , noted there has only been an oil sheen in Panglao came from ship which sank in the 1990s and that the oil sheen could have surfaced because of the recent earthquake.
“The PCG is already making sure that this won’t escalate to an oil spill. Thus far, the report I got from them is that Panglao is safe for swimming, as well as fishing,” Valte added. LLANESCA T. PANTI