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Kukulangin ba? Recto wants to know if calamity funds for 2019, 2020 are enough

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Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto wants the Senate to check the status of calamity funds for the years 2019 and 2020 to find out if they are enough to help those affected by the powerful earthquakes which hit Mindanao last week.

In a statement Monday (November 4), Recto said a check of the calamity funds is necessary since rehabilitation of the quake-hit areas will require bigger funding.

The calamity fund for 2019 is P25.1 billion while P20 billion is allocated for 2020. P3.5 billion of the appropriations for next year is for Marawi.

“What is needed now is a fact-based, ground-validated damage assessment checked against available and proposed appropriations. If funding does not match the needs, then Congress has no choice but to augment,” Recto said.

With the Senate and House of Representatives racing to pass the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020 by December, Recto said lawmakers will have to carve out budget space for the rehabilitation of quake-hit areas.

“Accommodating this would not require tectonic changes in the 2020 budget. It would only entail some tweaking, which will not lead to the weakening of the other parts,” he said.

Recto said any amount that will be earmarked by Congress for the reconstruction of quake-damaged areas should be properly identified “to create a firewall that will prevent it from being used for other purposes.

“It can be called Comprehensive Aid to Repair Earthquake Damage or CARED,” he said.

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