Janette Garin

Solon urges proper use of calamity funds

November 3, 2022 Jester P. Manalastas 269 views

A LAWMAKER said calamity or other available funds for national disaster should be used accordingly as the country is preparing for another cyclones that may enter before the year ends.
Deputy Majority Leader Iloilo Representative Janette Garin made this statement as she also rejected the call to place the entire country under a state of calamity.

With two more months in 2022, it’s not only Typhoon Paeng that will enter the country as the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has said that two to three cyclones are expected to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) this month and another two in December.

“Pagasa earlier said authorities must prepare for storms in the last quarter of the year since these usually hit land and pass through central or southern Luzon, the Visayas, and northern Mindanao just like typhoon Paeng,” Garin said.

“The country has available funds for national disasters, but these should be used accordingly,” she added.

Garin said it would be best if the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) would study and evaluate fully if declaring a national state of calamity is what the country needs in the aftermath of Typhoon Paeng.

Garin explained that there are advantages as well as disadvantages in placing the whole country under a national state of calamity.

She said one of the great benefits of such a declaration is an automatic price freeze on basic necessities under Republic Act 7581, or the Price Act, the granting of no-interest loans by the government financial institutions and reprogramming of funds for repair of infrastructure.

Aside from these, the government can mobilize its quick response funds, the NDRRM funds, and the President’s Contingent Fund, as well as the Presidential Social Fund that comes from PAGCOR.

She said the available funds will be of great help and the declaration of national state of calamity will hasten the rescue, relief, and rehabilitation efforts, but Garin admitted that she has a slight reservation on the matter.

“Sa mga affected areas lang dapat muna siguro ang maging rekomendasyon ng NDRMMC and with safeguards in place na hindi maabuso,” Garin added.

She explained that the declaration of a state of calamity follows very specific criteria, and not all provinces will qualify.