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PIA Press Release

Regular calamity fund to double in 2008 - PGMA

by CT Amo/MS Arguelles

Legazpi City (30 August) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo announced that next year's government regular Calamity Fund will be doubled from P1 billion to P2 billion.

"We are here in this corridor of typhoons -- 'welcome mat to storms' as now Secretary Nonoy Andaya describes the land of his birth -- and in the shadow of an active volcano to announce that next year's regular Calamity Fund will be doubled to P2 billion," President Arroyo said during the "Pulong Bayan" held last Friday, August 24, at the Anislag Resettlement in Barangay Anislag in Daraga, Albay.

The 100 per cent increase in relief and rehabilitation funds would allow for quick response to emergencies and quick turnaround of areas wreaked havoc by calamities, said President Arroyo as she stressed that like before, the DSWD, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) shall have forty-five per cent of the funds for the immediate assistance for the victims of calamities while the DND and the DPWH shall have thirty-five per cent of the funds for the infrastructure rehabilitation.

She said that the calamity funds will be remitted up front to these agencies so that they in turn can forward and deploy men and material in areas prone to natural disasters. President Arroyo however stressed that not all calamities are caused by nature since some are nurtured by man like the displacement of civilians like that in Mindanao which was caused by the pillage done by the Abu Sayyaf Group.

The Calamity Fund will be tapped to provide succor to people who have seen the eye of the typhoon or the end of the barrel of a terrorist's gun, the President said.

At the "Pulong Bayan", President Arroyo was joined by Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya, Jr., PMS head Cerge Remonde, Albay Governor Joey Salceda, Congressional representatives of Albay Edcel Lagman, Al Francis Bichara, and Reno Lim, Albay vice governor Brando Sael, Daraga town mayor Cicero Triunfante, DSWD Secretary Esperanza Cabral, and OCD Deputy-Administrator Anthony Golez.

Prior to the Pulong Bayan, President Arroyo formally handed-over 61 Certificates of Completion and Occupancy of core shelter units to families whose houses were destroyed by the strong typhoons that hit the Bicol region last year.

After the brief turn-over rites of the Certificates of Occupancy to the 61 family-beneficiaries, President Arroyo toured and inspected the house of Ma. Bingelen Antivola, one of the 61 core shelter unit recipients at the Anislag Resettlement Site Phase II.

She also turned-over three checks amounting to a total of P350,000 to three Self-Employment Assistance-K (SEA-K) associations whose members are all victims of the typhoons.

These associations are: Survivor SEA-K Association as represented by Salvacion Ayes who received P150,000; Ma. Victoria Lo for Nagkakaisa SEA-K Association, P75,000 and Rosemarie Jacob for the Malobago SEA-K Association, P125,000.

The amount will be used as capital seed fund for the members of the association to start their entrepreneurial projects in the resettlement site.

The Chief Executive also distributed sacks of rice and green mongo beans to the same 61 family-beneficiaries, donated by the UN-World Food Programme that had been providing food packs to each beneficiary-family while construction of the shelter units is being done. (PIA) [top]

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