Leyte lawmakers, 10 others, want PH under state of calamity

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The five Leyte lawmakers and 10 other members of the House of Representatives have asked President Benigno Aquino 3rd to declare the whole country in a state of emergency in light of the catastrophe brought by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan).

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Leyte lawmakers Martin Romualdez, Sergio Apostol, Lucy Gomez, Andres Salvacion and Carlos Cari made the call under their House Resolution 445.

The Leyte lawmakers cited that such move is in accordance to the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 which defines a state of calamity as a condition involving mass casualty and/or major damages to property and roads, disruption of means of livelihood and the normal way of life of the people in the affected areas as a result of the occurrence of natural or human-induced hazard.

“The Presidential Proclamation [of nationwide state of calamity]is needed to control the prices of basic necessities and prime commodities, granting of non-interest loans to the victims, automatic appropriation for calamity fund, authorizing importation of rice under the Agricuktural Tarrification Act, among others,” the lawmakers.

Other lawmakers who made the same call are Reps. Gloria Arroyo of Pampanga, Diosdado Arroyo of Camarines Sur, Lito Atienza of Buhay Hayaang Yumabong party-list, Jonathan dela Cruz of Abakada party-list, Victor Ortega of La Union, Philip Pichay of Surigao del Sur, Tobias Tiangco of Navotas and Arthur Yap of Bohol.

“We are hoping that the President will heed our call and we likewise appeal to our House leadership to support this Resolution. We all know that it will take time to help the people affected regain their normal life. With your continued support and prayer, the people of Leyte will rise,” Romualdez said in a separate press conference.

Likewise, Romualdez pitched for a supplemental 2014 budget to address the mayhem brought by typhoon Yolanda as well as the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Cebu and Bohol just before Yolanda slammed Eastern and Central Visayas.

The passage of a supplemental budget, Romualdez cited, would spare President Aquino from criticisms of using the savings to prioritize his pet projects over what is needed by the people, such as what happened with the Disbursement Acceleration Program which legality is in question before the Supreme Court.

“The supplemental budget should be on the table because public officials should be accountable and transparent [of the public funds]. This is the process to be of help,” Romualdez added. LLANESCA T. PANTI

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