World Bank lends $ 80 million for typhoon relief and rehabilitation


COMFORT FOOD President Rodrigo Duterte, assisted by Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Go, hands a first aid kit to one of the victims of Typhoon ‘Odette’ in San Jose, Dinagat Islands, Wednesday, December 22, 2021. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

THE Philippines will draw $ 80 million (P4 billion) from the World Bank’s $ 500 million relief credit facility this week to fund disaster relief and rehabilitation efforts in affected provinces. Typhoon “Odette”.

In a statement on Thursday, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd said the government would withdraw an additional $ 120 million from the reserve facility in the first week of January, when loan coverage is incorporated into the 2022 national budget.

The loan was approved by the Board of Directors of the World Bank on November 17 and the related agreement was signed between the World Bank and the Philippines, represented by the Department of Finance (DoF), on November 29.

Senatorial Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senator Juan Edgardo Angara previously urged the government to identify undisbursed funds and savings in state coffers that could be used for relief and reconstruction operations.

A presidential declaration of a state of calamity or public health emergency is required to trigger the release of World Bank funds.

Last Tuesday, Duterte declared a state of calamity in six areas beaten by Odette: Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan); Western, Central and Eastern Visayas; Northern Mindanao; and the administrative region of Caraga.

The head of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Tina Canda, said Thursday that the office of the executive secretary had charged 1 billion pesos released to local government units in the affected areas and charged to the contingent fund.

The president has promised to start releasing the funds today, December 24, or Monday, December 27.

Visiting the island of Siargao, which was ravaged by Odette on Wednesday, he told local authorities: “Help is on the way; wait a minute.

The president, who was accompanied by Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, led the distribution of relief to the victims of the typhoon. They carried out a similar activity in the barangay Cuarinta hall in the Dinagat Islands later in the day.

Go said he was sad for Odette to strike at a time when the country was slowly overcoming the Covid-19 pandemic.

But he said the spirit of compassion and cooperation remains strong among the people.

In Siargao, Duterte and Go met a sick boy whose family was among the victims of the typhoon. The two brought the boy to Davao City so that he could receive medical treatment.

Duterte also ordered the office of the executive secretary to release 4 billion pesos for LGUs affected by the typhoon by Thursday or Friday. Each family in distress is entitled to financial assistance of 5,000 P.

The president carried out aerial inspections of other devastated areas in the Visayas and Mindanao last weekend.

The death toll in Odette has risen to 258, the National Council for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (NDRRMC) said on Thursday.

NDRRMC spokesperson Mark Timbal said only 11 deaths had been confirmed.

Bohol had the highest number of deaths at 96. Negros Oriental had 66 deaths; Cebu, 8; Agusan del Sur and Misamis Oriental, 4 each; Guimaras, 2; and Butuan City, Guimaras, Bukidnon, Misamis Occidental, Negros Occidental and Iloilo, one each.

The agency said 568 people were injured, the largest coming from Cebu with 374.

47 people are missing.

The House transport committee on Thursday scheduled a hearing to assess the damage caused by the typhoon.

Representatives from the Department of Transportation (DoTr), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Maritime Industry Authority (Marina), Cebu Ports Authority, Philippine Civil Aviation Authority (CAAP) and Civil Defense Office (OCD).

The committee also wishes to know what improvements have been made following the devastation caused by Super Typhoon “Yolanda” in 2013.

“We are trying to assess what the outcome will be tomorrow, once all the position papers are presented to us, then we decide what to do,” said committee chairman, Samar representative Edgar Mary Sarmiento.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), through its Civil-Military Coordination Center (CMCC), said on Thursday they would help channel aid from more than 17 donors to Odette’s victims.

The CMCC is a facility at Camp Aguinaldo headquarters in Quezon City that is activated during crises and emergencies.


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