Agencies helping typhoon affected areas may request more QRFs

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Alexis Romero – The Filipino Star

December 19, 2021 | 00h00

MANILA, Philippines – Agencies helping areas affected by Typhoon Odette can apply for additional Rapid Response Fund (QRF) if needed, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said.

During a briefing on Odette’s effects last Friday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said he spoke with the director of his agency’s regional office in Cebu and learned that some health facilities had lost their roofs.

He said reconstruction of the facilities should begin as soon as the risk decreases so that they can provide services to affected communities, although he noted that authorities are still assessing the damage to health facilities in the affected areas. the typhoon.

“And I would like to know if we can already submit directly to DBM the budget required for the repairs so that we can already work on it immediately,” he added.

Under Budget Secretary Kim Robert de Leon, who was present at the meeting, said agencies like health, agriculture, education, public works and social services and the Defense Office civilian have integrated rapid response funds.

“They can immediately exploit this and use it. When they’re depleted, they can just send us the QRF replenishment request, which we’ll take from the remaining balance in the National Disaster Risk Reduction And Management (NDRRM) fund for 2021, ”De Leon said.

Cabinet secretary and acting presidential spokesman Karlo Nograles said the National Council for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management is collecting information on the extent of the damage caused by the typhoon.

The board is also expected to submit its damage assessment and recommendations to the president’s office.

“But in the meantime, DBM is right that the different departments have QRF that they can use. In the meantime, if our local government units have to declare a state of calamity locally, they have the right to do so, ”Nograles said.

A declaration of a state of calamity allows local authorities to use their respective funds to help communities affected by the typhoon.

At the same meeting, President Duterte said he was not so worried about damage to government infrastructure, but was concerned that the typhoon-related death toll could increase.

“I’m as excited as you are to go out there to see for myself,” Duterte said.

The president said the government was trying to raise funds to help areas beaten by Odette.

“You know, our budget has been severely depleted because of COVID. Our funds were really depleted. We prioritize spending. These typhoons are the imponderables, as we would say. They would come, they would not come but because of COVID our funds are depleted. So we are trying to reduce the amount that we can collect so that we can distribute it to the affected areas, ”said Duterte.

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