Half of calamity funds released by DBM already in September
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released P13.4-billion worth—more than half—of the calamity funds in this year’s national budget and last year’s continuing appropriations as of September.
The latest DBM data on Thursday (Oct. 7) showed end-September allotment releases of P3 billion out of the remaining P5.1 billion in the 2020 national disaster risk reduction management fund (NDRRMF) that spilled over to this year. Last year’s budget will be valid up to December 2021.
In this year’s NDRRMF, P10.4 billion in allotments were already released from the P20-billion fund.
The releases under the 2020 NDRRMF included P120 million from the national disaster risk reduction and management program (NDRRMP), which can be spent on the pandemic and other health needs, as declared by the Department of Health (DOH) and subject to the approval of the Office of the President (OP) upon recommendation of the inter-agency National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
From continuing 2020 calamity funds, the DBM also released P6 million under the Marawi recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction program (MRRRP), and the biggest chunk of P2.9 billion for the comprehensive aid to repair earthquake damage (CARED) allocated for the Davao and SOCCSKSARGEN regions flattened by strong quakes in 2019.
Releases under the 2021 NDRRMF included P8.4 billion to the NDRRMP, plus P1.9 billion for the MRRRP. The P2-billion calamity insurance premium remained untouched.
Unreleased balances from 2020’s and this year’s calamity funds amounted to P2.1 billion, and P11.7 billion.
Officials had said they were setting aside bulk of the funds to spend when calamities strike, like strong typhoons which usually hit the country toward the end of the year.
DBM documents showed that some earmarked amounts were already pending various stages of approval.
The DBM releases the NDRRMF following the NDRRMC’s endorsement, and the President’s final go-ahead.
The Inquirer earlier reported that all of 2020 and 2021’s calamity funds were unreleased, hence unspent, during the first quarter of 2021 despite the prolonged fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last year, the Inquirer also reported that P406.5 million in funds allotted in 2018 for the rehabilitation of Marawi City expired in 2019 and reverted to the national treasury mainly because of the slow approval of the national disaster agency and the OP.
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