Press Releases

Salceda calls for ‘urgent declaration’ of state of calamity; House tax chair cites fund balances available for mobilization in VisMin

December 21st, 2021

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) has urged the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council to recommend to President Duterte the declaration of a state of calamity for several regions, in the aftermath of Typhoon Odette which ravaged parts of Visayas and Mindanao.

“Under the National DRR Act, or Republic Act No. 10121, the NDRRMC should recommend a declaration of state of calamity by the President. A declaration will then activate measures such as price controls, reprogramming of funds for repair of infrastructure, and the granting of no-interest loans by the government financial institutions,” Salceda said.

Salceda adds that the declaration would activate an automatic price freeze of basic necessities for areas in a state of calamity under RA 7581, or the Price Act.

Salceda also said that there are funds that the government can immediately mobilize to support hard-hit areas.

“The government can mobilize its quick response funds, created under RA 10121, the NDRRM Funds, and the President’s Contingent Fund. Note that both the 2020 and the 2021 budgets for these funds are still valid. You have around P6.5 billion in available fund balances from the NDRRM Fund and the President’s contingent funds, based on latest budget reports,” Salceda said.

“There is also the Presidential Social Fund, which is off-budget, and which the President can also immediately mobilize,” Salceda added.

“That comes from PAGCOR, which remitted some P2 billion this year to the Social Fund,” Salceda explained.

“So there is definitely money to spare for these areas. When I was Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, we passed Republic Act No. 9359 for rehabilitation in the aftermath of the Mayon eruption and the Guimaras Oil Spill in 2006. The National Government can work with Congress to reprogram some funds from agencies with large outstanding balances,” Salceda suggested.

The House tax panel chair was awarded a Gawad Kalasag Hall of Famer for being cited by the NDRRMC as an awardee for DRR efforts several times during his term. His term was also hailed as a model for DRR adaptation and mitigation internationally. (end)

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