Rationalized calamity spending sought

DISASTER and risk reduction managers here call for rationalized calamity fund spending amidst an expose by President Benigno Simeon Aquino on the depletion of the country’s disaster funds.

Local risk managers want to assure that local governments are better equipped against natural and human disasters, they said.

Disaster council vice chairman, PSSupt Rodolfo A. Llorca seeks asks the provincial board to put a legislative stop on the using the un-used calamity funds as a bonus pot for local government workers.

Speaking at the weekly Kapihan sa PIA Thursday to commemorate the Disaster Consciousness Month, disaster managers PSSupt Llorca and Bureau of Fire Supt Pepe Rebusa hinted that several local government units (LGU) have fair knowledge about how to use the mandated 5% calamity fund placed at their disposal.

The local government code mandates that LGUs shall annually appropriate 5% of its development funds for disaster management.

This shall be used for aid, relief and rehabilitation services to communities and areas affected by man-made and natural calamities, repair and reconstruction of permanent structures, including other capital expenditures for disaster operation, and rehabilitation activities.

But as to the guidelines on how to use them, the law is mum, opening up a gray area, said a barangay official in an interview.

Llorca said that disaster mitigation and risk management spending can be planned in as much as LGUs can look up to three major phases of disaster response.

He said the initial phase is prevention, which can be responded by putting up disaster emergency and rescue equipment, disaster response where relief operations are done and post disaster response where funds could be allocated for evacuations.

However, with hazy guidelines, local government units conveniently realign the calamity funds by the end of the calendar year so the funds can be declared savings and so are available for personnel incentives.

That could be okay of the LGU has already prepared sufficient equipment and resources on disaster response, but most LGUs are not equipped against disaster, Llorca said.

The weekly forum at Kapihan sa PIA also discussed the theme: Pag-alerto: Malayo sa Peligro. (rac/PIABohol)

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