Calamity Fund not enough: guv

LOCAL government executives of the Davao Region said the 5% allocation for the disaster preparedness budget, which is taken from the annual budget of each local government unit, is not sustainable due to the impact of climate change.

Davao del Norte Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario, who also heads the Regional Development Council, said that his province finds it difficult to maintain a disaster preparedness program with a P50 million a year budget.

Typhoon Pablo, which hit Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley in 2012, sas proof of this, he said. “We did not anticipate (typhoon) Pablo,” del Rosario said, adding that even with experience leading a province, he had not experienced being in a major storm.

Del Rosario made the comment during the press briefing at the Regional Advocacy Forum on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change held at the Pinnacle Hotel Friday.

He said that while provinces are able to allocate 70% of the budget for mitigation measures, they would need additional funding from aid agencies to implement a more comfortable allocation.

Among these aid is a program initiated by the National Economic Development Agency (NEDA), which in 2011 implemented the disaster planning program in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Australian Agency for International Aid (AusAID), and the New Zealand Aid Programme (NZAP).

The program aims to mainstream disaster preparedness measures from the level of budgeting to implementation across all levels of the LGU, with the communities being a major part of fhd conversation.

The three Pablo-hit provinces, along with Davao del Sur, submitted last Friday its enhanced Provincial Development and Physical Framework Plans (PDPFP) after years of planning.

The respective budgets would then be submitted to NEDA for consideration for funding.

According to Compostela Valley Vice Gov. Manuel Zamora, LGUs have recently relied on the NEDA for funding of their major climate change-related projects, especially since the controversial priority development allocation fund (PDAF) was removed from the congressmen of all legislative districts.

According to a copy of Davao del Norte’s PDPSP, the province has been hit by nine major floods from 2011 to 2013 alone.

This translates to P930 million in infrastructure damage and P3.5 billion in agricultural damage for the years mentioned.

Titon Mitra, UNDP Philippines country director, said the country was still more interested in the financial aspect of aid ideas.

“The Philippines is not a poor country,” he said, citing the Philippines’ stable growth rate at an annual 5% to 6%.

“In the end, it’s not about the money but about the ideas you bring from international experience.”

Mitra said the funding provided by the UNDP for the program would not be in the form of loans but in the form of grants.

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