WB releases P4 billion of PH loan for Odette response
MANILA, Philippines—The World Bank on Tuesday (Dec. 28) released about P4 billion ($80 million) out of the $500-million quick-disbursing loan it extended to the Philippines, to be spent on rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Odette.
The amount was received by the Bureau of the Treasury on behalf of the Philippine government, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said.
Together with the next tranche amounting to P6 billion ($120 million) to be drawn from the World Bank’s fourth disaster risk management development policy loan with a catastrophe-deferred drawdown option (CAT-DDO 4), Dominguez said the P10-billion financing will cover the full amount requested by the Office of the President (OP) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
The additional funding from the World Bank would be released in the first week of January 2022, as it was expected to already have a loan cover under the P5.02-trillion 2022 national budget by that time. Next year’s budget has yet to be signed by President Rodrigo Duterte, although legislators said it would be done before yearend.
The Philippines was able to draw from the CAT-DDO 4 loan following Duterte’s declaration of a state of calamity in Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, and Caraga, following the onslaught of Odette. These six regions would be under a state of calamity for one year starting on Dec. 21.
This World Bank loan, which took effect upon signing last Nov. 29, can be tapped for emergency funds upon the declaration of a state of calamity or public health emergency by the national government.
Separate DBM documents showed that it released last Monday another P1 billion to the Treasury, which will be distributed as additional financial assistance to local government units (LGUs) worst hit by Odette.
The DBM also released P1 billion for the same purpose last week, and acting Budget Secretary Tina Rose Marie Canda had said these were from the President’s contingency funds.
Canda on Monday (Dec. 27) said that another P4 billion will be released from the 2021 calamity funds and other fund sources before this year ends, while the remaining P4 billion out of the President’s total of P10-billion assistance pledge to Odette victims will come from the 2022 budget.
DBM documents also showed it released P662.5 million to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), P139.7 million to the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and P25 million to the Philippine National Police (PNP) to replenish their 2021 quick response funds (QRFs).
The DBM defines the QRF as a “standby-fund to be used in order that the situation and living conditions of people in communities or areas stricken by calamities, epidemics, crises, and catastrophes may be normalized as quickly as possible.”
In the case of the release to the PNP, the DBM’s special allotment release order (Saro) document said it was intended “to cover additional funding requirements for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) under the QRF to support search and rescue operations, and assist in the relief operations and community development of the areas devastated by typhoon Odette.”
The US Embassy in Manila said Monday night that the United States government, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), raised its assistance to communities hit by Odette to P60 million ($1.2 million) from the initial P10-million ($200,000) commitment.
“In partnership with the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), the new funding from USAID will provide logistics and emergency telecommunications support in typhoon-affected areas,” said an embassy statement.
“WFP will set up four emergency logistics hubs in Surigao del Norte for storing and distributing relief supplies,” it said.
“With US assistance, WFP will also transport food from the Philippine government to feed tens of thousands of Filipinos and assist with re-establishing the telecommunications networks to support response efforts,” it added.
“The United States is pleased to provide this additional assistance to support the immediate needs of individuals and families in the areas hardest hit by typhoon Odette,” said US Embassy Chargé D Affaires Heather Variaya.
“This support will help ensure that food and other life-saving supplies reach communities most in need,” Variaya said.
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