P94B released by gov’t for ‘Yolanda’ rehab
Over the last two years, the government released P93.9 billion to programs and projects aimed at rehabilitating the areas in central Philippines flattened by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) in 2013, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said yesterday.
The amount released by the government for Yolanda reconstruction and rehabilitation as of last month was equal to almost two-thirds of the P150 billion required under the Yolanda Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan approved by the President last year.
“These fund releases were charged against various funding sources in the General Appropriations Act for fiscal years 2013, 2014 and 2015,” Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad said in a statement.
“The scale of the damage is unprecedented. And given that it was unforeseen, the total amount needed for the reconstruction efforts is not something that can be accommodated within the calamity fund. So we needed to find various funding sources within the budget,” Abad explained.
About P10 billion more would be released this year, according to the DBM.
Under the proposed 2016 national budget, more than P46 billion were to be allocated into the continuous Yolanda rehabilitation efforts, of which P18.9 billion were special purpose funds, while P27.3 billion would be lodged in implementing agencies’ budgets, Abad said.
According to the DBM, a detailed list of all the fund releases as well as projects funded could be accessed by the public on the agency’s website.
Last September, Abad told reporters that only less than a fourth of foreign pledges for “Yolanda” rehabilitation activities had been received mostly by aid agencies.
Citing data from the Foreign Aid Transparency Hub or Faith, Abad said that of the P73.3 billion or $1.6 billion in pledges made by international aid agencies and foreign governments, only P17.2 billion or $386.2 million was received by the national government, nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and multilateral institutions as of September.
Of the P45.1 billion in cash pledges, only P1.2 billion had been funneled into the national government, while of the P28.2 billion in non-cash commitments, the government had received just P1.3 billion through the departments of foreign affairs and of health, Abad said.
He pointed out that of the total foreign aid received thus far, the bulk or P14.8 billion had been distributed to NGOs and multilateral agencies such as the United Nations (UN).
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