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Kulang talaga! Only P7.5B calamity funds can be used for Taal rehab, says Romero

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

House Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero has backed the P30-billion supplemental fund request of President Rodrigo Duterte since only P7.5-billion of the government’s P16-billion disaster fund can be utilized for the ongoing relief and rehabilitation efforts in areas affected by the recent Taal Volcano eruption.

“We will support President Duterte’s request for the appropriation of an additional P30 billion for communities affected by the eruption of Taal,” said Romero.

According to Romero, the P16-billion national disaster risk reduction and management fund, formerly calamity fund, in the 2020 national budget “is hardly enough even for this one calamity that has visited our people in Cavite and Batangas.”

He explained that of the P16 billion, P3.5 billion is reserved for the rehabilitation of Marawi City, while P5 billion is allocated for communities devastated by last year’s earthquakes in the Davao-Socsargen regions.

“The President can only use P7.5 billion of this year’s calamity fund for disasters,” Romero explained

He added that aside from approving whatever amount the President requests for Cavite and Batangas, Congress has to augment the calamity fund.

“We have to give the Chief Executive enough money to respond to calamities,” said Romero.

House Committee on Ways and Means chair Joey Salceda (Albay) said the Duterte government will be needing about P100 billion for its ongoing relief and rehabilitation efforts for the areas devastated by Taal Volcano’s explosion.

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