By: Ernie Reyes, InterAksyon.com November 24, 2013 12:43 PM
MANILA, Philippines - Congress leaders have agreed to extend the validity of the 2013 calamity-related funds in various agencies amounting to P20.8 billion to aid disaster relief and rehabilitation of calamity-stricken areas, Senate President Franklin Drilon said on Sunday. This is apart from the supplemental budget, he said.
“The proposed resolution will extend for one more fiscal year the authorization to spend the appropriations for calamity fund and other disaster and relief-related programs in the budgets of selected line agencies estimated to be around P20.8 billion,” Drilon said.
He said the Senate along with the House of Representatives will file a joint resolution seeking to extend the validity of funds in the 2013 national budget related to calamity response.
“Speaker Sonny Belmonte and I have agreed to file a joint resolution to extend until December 31 of next year the authority to spend the funds intended for calamity response before the current General Appropriations Act expires on December 31, 2013, so that the funds can be used by agencies dealing with disaster relief and rebuilding activities,” explained Drilon.
“Otherwise, if they remain unobligated by the end of the year, the funds will go back to the National Treasury and could not be used anymore by the start of the next fiscal year,” he added.
The Senate chief pointed out that the continued use of the P20.8 billion – of which the authority to spend will lapse by the end of December – can augment funding for massive relief and rehabilitation efforts, in light of the considerable loss of life and property caused by various devastating disasters particularly super typhoon Yolanda.
“We have to capacitate the government for it to be able to respond adequately and effectively to urgent and pressing needs of our people who have been gravely affected by the series of natural and man-made calamities that hit the country, until they are able to get back up on their feet,” said Drilon.
“The ultimate beneficiaries of our actions are the people who were left homeless, hungry, and in despair by the calamities. We need to help them rebuild their lives and their homes,” he added.