• House eyes P20 billion Rehab Fund for Yolanda victims under 2014 budget


    House of Representatives will push for amending the proposed P2.268 trillion budget to earmark a P20 billion Rehabilitation Fund for the victims of super typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan), Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said on Tuesday.

    Belmonte made the announcement four days after super typhoon Yolanda—the strongest typhoon in the world ever recorded in 2013—smashed the provinces of Leyte, Samar, Capiz and some parts of Palawan that left thousands of people dead, destroyed house, business establishments, roads and bridges as well as knocked down power and communication lines.

    “In light of the tragedy, we have taken the initiative to set up a Rehabilitation Fund for the typhoon victims. The proposed 2014 budget won’t leave the Bicameral panel without the Rehabilitation Fund ranging from P10 billion to P20 billion,” Belmonte saud during the Ugnayan sa Batasan News Forum.

    Belmonte was referring to the Bicameral Conference panel which reconciles the disagreeing provisions of the House and Senate versions of the proposed budget.

    The House has already passed the proposed P2.268 trillion budget on third and final reading, but the Senate is yet to approve it on second reading.

    Belmonte noted that they are yet to decide what items in the budget will be reduced to raise the needed amount for the Rehabilitation Fund for Yolanda victims, but assured that it will be determined in due time.

    “We don’t need a supplemental budget. We want to craft it [the Rehabilitation Fund for Yolanda victims]within the 2014 budget. We do not think that’s enough, but that would add up to the aid made by foreign governments and entities,” Belmonte said.

    “But before we count those foreign aid, we would like to rely first on ourselves,” Belmonte added.

    The Senate has earlier proposed a P10 billion worth of Rehabilitation Fund for the victims of typhoon Yolanda, also under the proposed P2.268 trillion budget. LLANESCA T. PANTI





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