Agencies asked to explain why calamity funds unspent

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MANILA, Philippines—Senator Sonny Angara, chair of the Senate finance committee which has oversight of the nationwide finances, on Tuesday (May 4) mentioned he asked companies to report how they spent their calamity funds because the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) launched P2.91 billion of the funds for 2020 and 2021 in April.

“We’re actually inquiring with the agencies on disbursements made and awaiting information on the unspent calamity funds,” Angara instructed the Inquirer.

“Calamity funds are usually expected to be spent expeditiously since they respond to emergency events, and often there is great urgency and need for these funds,” mentioned Angara, who steered approval of the 2020 and 2021 nationwide budgets within the Senate.

“And during the budget hearings we are often told how the year’s budget is insufficient for rehabilitation of disaster or calamity-hit communities, which is why for this year 2021, Congress added to the calamity fund,” Angara mentioned.

From P16 billion in 2020, this yr’s nationwide catastrophe danger discount administration fund (NDRRMF) had been put aside an even bigger P20 billion.

As earlier reported by the Inquirer, the whole of P25.14 billion within the 2020 and 2021 NDRRMF had been unreleased and unspent from January to March, in accordance to DBM information citing standing report from the Department of National Defense’s Office of Civil Defense (DND-OCD) as of March 31. (hyperlink – https://www.dbm.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/e-Fund_Releases/NDRRMF2021/FY-2021-NDRRMF-as-of-March-31-2021.pdf)

In an announcement, the DBM mentioned it launched P2.91 billion from the NDRRMF in April–P2.47 billion for the nationwide catastrophe danger discount and administration program (NDRRMP) and P439.84 million for the Marawi restoration, rehabilitation and reconstruction program (MRRRP).

The DBM assertion didn’t point out if the NDRRMP and the MRRRP releases got here from the 2020 persevering with NDRRMF appropriations or from the brand new 2021 funds, however a consultant confirmed to the Inquirer that these newest releases have been made solely through the month of April.

Budget paperwork had proven that the NDRRMP could be spent on epidemics, as declared by the Department of Health (DOH), topic to the approval of the Office of the President (OP) upon suggestion of the inter-agency National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

As of April, the DBM mentioned it was “processing an additional P2.78 billion [in the NDRRMF] based on recent approvals from the OP covering disaster-related programs and projects in response to calamities occurring from 2018 to 2021, as well as the MRRRP and CARED,” referring to the excellent assist to restore earthquake injury funds underneath the 2020 finances.

A complete of P5 billion had been allotted for CARED to cowl rehabilitation of areas within the Davao and Soccsksargen areas flattened by sturdy quakes in 2019.

DBM information confirmed that in 2020, solely P311.94 million in CARED funds have been launched—P255.38 million to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and P56.56 million to the state-run Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA).

Since the validity of the 2020 finances had been prolonged by President Rodrigo Duterte till end-2021, there remained P4.69 billion underneath CARED as of March—P4.09 billion in particular allotment launch orders (SAROs) have been up for OP approval, of which P1.65 billion will probably be for the National Housing Authority (NHA), P1.4 billion for the DPWH and P1.04 billion for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

In its assertion, the DBM mentioned P1.79 billion was “for release” for CARED as of April, leaving a stability of P2.89 billion.

In 2020, the Inquirer reported that P406.5 million in funds allotted in 2018 for the rehabilitation of Marawi City expired and reverted to the nationwide treasury primarily due to the sluggish approval of the nationwide catastrophe company and the OP.

In 2020, the DBM launched P3.436 billion within the persevering with 2019 MRRRP out of the P3.437-billion fund.

The Inquirer asked Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) chair and Housing Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario again in January what occurred to P214,004 that was unreleased and expired within the 2019 MRRRP however he didn’t reply.

For the 2020 MRRRP, P3.49 billion was launched as of December 2020, therefore simply the small P8.19-million stability which can be utilized till yearend. Of this, P7.85 million had been earmarked after President Duterte accredited the SARO for the National Youth Commission (NYC).

The DBM mentioned the mixed P19.44-billion stability in 2020 and 2021’s calamity funds “will be utilized based on the specific purposes and allotments which will be released by the DBM to appropriate departments and agencies upon receipt of the corresponding approvals from the OP.”

For pandemic response, the DBM mentioned that the NDRRMF “will be tapped whenever there are additional funding requirements to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic which may not be covered by all available funding sources.”

“The DBM assures the public that sufficient funds are made available to departments and agencies for programs and projects in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” it mentioned.

It mentioned companies could use till June 30, 2021 common appropriations for 2021, funds from the prolonged General Appropriations Act of 2020 and not less than P189.44 billion unspent underneath Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.

The funds are “on top” of some P60.61 billion launched to the Department of Health for foreign-assisted tasks, “particularly on the procurement of vaccines and other essential equipment and supplies,” the DBM mentioned.

TSB


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