P10-B Bicol rehab fund included in 2007 budget
Legazpi City (31 January) -- The P10-billion fund that House Speaker Jose de Venecia proposed last month has been included in the 2007 national budget, ensuring allocation to rapidly rebuild and resettle areas of Bicol and adjoining Regions 3 and 4 heavily damaged by a succession of typhoons late last year
De Venecia said the P10-billion fund would be similar to the successful P10-billion legislation he initiated in 1991 that rebuilt earthquake-damaged Pangasinan, La Union, Baguio City and Nueva Ecija and the P10-billion Mount Pinatubo fund in 1993 for Central Luzon he launched with then Sen. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Both funds, De Venecia said, showed the government's readiness and resolve to urgently mobilize adequate resources and efforts to rebuild ruined communities and turn around the localities' destroyed economies.
An additional P25-million in typhoon relief fund has been mobilized by Speaker De Venecia and some 100 congressmen who donated P250,000 each from their public works funds for the benefit of the typhoon-damaged areas in Bicolandia.
The House Speaker said he has already informed Albay Gov. Fernando Gonzalez, Camarines Sur Gov. Raymond Villafuerte, Camarines Norte Gov. Jesus Typoco Jr. Catanduanes Gov. Leandro Verceles Jr., Masbate Gov. Antonio Kho, Sorsogon Gov. Raul Lee and some of the Bicol lawmakers -- Joey Salceda, Edcel Lagman, Luis Villafuerte -- about the inclusion of the P10-billion fund in the national budget.
Speaker De Venecia thanked President Arroyo for endorsing his initiative, which he said showed the sensitivity of Congress to the plight of typhoon victims in Bicol and some provinces of Southern Tagalaog Region.
Speaker De Venecia's plan was backed by Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya, a former congressman from the Bicol region. (PIA 5) [top]