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QRF to gather funding for the P10-B ‘Odette’: solon

On Thursday, a member of the House of Representatives suggested using the quick response fund (QRF) to help raise President Rodrigo Duterte’s PHP10 billion pledge for immediate relief to the victims of Typhoon Odette.

The money that can be accessed from these QRFs, according to House Deputy Speaker Isidro Ungab, can be used for restoration and rehabilitation of the areas destroyed by “Odette,” including the pre-positioning of products and equipment needed to provide relief and support to the calamity victims.

According to him, the following departments and agencies will receive QRFs under the 2021 General Appropriation Act: Department of Agriculture, worth PHP1 billion; Department of Education, worth PHP2 billion; Department of Health, worth PHP520 million; Bureau of Fire Protection, worth PHP50 million; Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, worth PHP50 million; Office of Civil Defense, worth PHP500 million; Department of Works and Highways, worth PHP1 billion; and Department of Social Welfare, worth PHP1 billion.

“If monies from these QRFs are still accessible, which can only be assessed by the abovementioned agencies,” Ungab stated, “they can immediately use these QRFs or request the DBM to supplement these funds in order to promptly respond to the emergency needs of the disaster-stricken areas.”

Under the 2021 GAA, Duterte can also use any available balance from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (NDRRMF), commonly known as the Calamity Fund, for the areas impacted by “Odette” in Visayas and Mindanao, according to Ungab.

The accessible amount of PHP2 billion from the NDRRMF has already been recognized, according to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Acting DBM Secretary Tina Canda also stated that a sum of PHP2 billion is available from the President’s Contingent Fund under the 2021 GAA, which can be used to provide the much-needed assistance.

According to Ungab, the President of the Philippines is entitled to declare and use savings to supplement shortages in other items of the general appropriations law under the Constitution (Article VI, Section 25 item 5).

If there are savings from the agencies’ budgets under the 2021 GAA, he noted, the President may easily repurpose these savings for disaster response and recovery actions.

He also mentioned that after the President signs the 2022 GAA, he can order the release of any cash from the NDRRMF, which has a PHP20 billion appropriation at the start of the year that can be allocated outright to individuals affected by Typhoon Odette.

Typhoon Odette caused significant destruction and damage to homes, infrastructure, properties, and agriculture, as well as the disruption of crucial lifelines for Filipinos in the typhoon’s path.

According to the latest figures from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the dead toll from the typhoon has risen to 258, with 568 people injured and 47 people missing.

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