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DBM: ₧2.9B of ₧25-B fund for disasters released

THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Tuesday said that as of end-April it has released P2.909 billion in allotments out of the total P25.135-billion National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (NDRRMF) from the 2020 and 2021 national budgets.

In a statement, the DBM said they are also currently processing an additional P2.779 billion based on recent approvals from the Office of the President (OP) covering disaster-related programs and projects in response to calamities occurring from the 2018 to 2021, as well as the Marawi Recovery, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program (MRRRP) and Comprehensive Aid to Repair Earthquake Damage (CARED).

“The remaining P19.445-billion appropriations will be utilized based on the specific purposes and allotments which will be released by the DBM to appropriate Departments and Agencies upon receipt of the corresponding approvals from the OP,” it said.

The budget department issued the statement after the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that a total of P25.14 billion calamity funds from the 2020 and 2021 national budgets remain unutilized as of March.

Aside from specific purposes such as the MRRRP and CARED, the DBM said the appropriations under the NDRRM Program may be used for disaster risk reduction or mitigation, prevention and preparedness activities, as well as reconstruction, rehabilitation, repair, aid, relief and other works or services, in connection with the occurrence of natural or human-induced calamities, epidemics as declared by the DOH, crises resulting from armed conflicts, insurgency, terrorism, and other catastrophes occurring in the current or two (2) preceding years.

Nonetheless, it assured the public that the NDRRMF “will be tapped whenever there are additional funding requirements to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic which may not be covered by all available funding sources.”

However, it said the “sufficient funds are made available to Departments and Agencies for programs and projects in response to the Covid-19 pandemic,” especially given the extension of validity of appropriations under 2020 national budget and the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.

“Aside from their regular appropriations under the FY 2021 GAA and the continuing FY 2020 GAA, the total amount of P189.442 billion in allotments pursuant to the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act [Bayanihan II] may still be utilized until June 30, 2021,” it said. “This is also on top of the P60.605-billion additional allotments released to the Department of Health for foreign-assisted projects, particularly on the procurement of vaccines and other essential equipment and supplies.”

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