Palace seeks supplemental relief budget

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Malacañang is pushing for a supplemental budget for the repair of infrastructure damaged by recent calamities, including Super Typhoon Yolanda.

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Presidential Communications Secretary Hermino Coloma Jr. said that the government expects to “incur huge expenditures” because of the series of calamities that hit several areas in the country.

He noted that the huge cost of helping disaster-stricken areas will have a “substantial impact on the national budget”.

“Hence, we welcome proposals from congressional leaders to approve a supplemental budget that will provide additional funding for coping with the immediate needs, based on the availability of funds that will be certified by the national treasurer,” he said.

According to Coloma, the President led a Cabinet meeting with the NEDA Board that tackled proposals for major infrastructure projects as well as priority programs for the hard-hit areas in Eastern Visayas.

The Palace, he said, will also be working with Congress in “fine-tuning the proposed 2014 national budget, taking into account specific funding requirements brought about by the recent series of calamities.”

The Palace official said that the President is ready to certify as urgent the supplemental budget “if needed.”

Meanwhile, Coloma acknowledged the overwhelming support and solidarity manifested by the international community.

“It is auspicious that, given the country’s sound macroeconomic fundamentals, we were able to seek favorable terms of assistance, such that incremental borrowings may be obtained that will not be onerous and burdensome,” he said.

”The forthcoming Philippine Development Forum pledging session of the international donor community is an appropriate venue for securing commitments among various stakeholders for the country’s resource generation efforts,” he added.

So far, over 51 countries have donated over P12.9 billion to the typhoon victims, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

“We are truly touched by the overwhelming support of the international community as we continue with the disaster response and relief efforts,” Raul Hernandez, Foreign Affairs spokesman, said in a press briefing.

“This demonstration of commitment by our international partners inspires even as we go to the tougher phase of rehabilitation and rebuilding.”

Hernandez also expressed the Philippine government’s gratitude to the Chinese government, which sent The Peace Ark Hospital Ship, a 10,000-ton class hospital, for medical aid for the typhoon victims.

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