5% budget for disaster preparedness “not enough”

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DAVAO CITY (MindaNews /30 May) — Local leaders from the region said the 5% allocation for the disaster preparedness budget, which is taken from each local government unit’s (LGU) annual budget is no longer sustainable for provincial preparations against the effects of climate change.

Under RA 10121, the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, LGUs are mandated to set aside no less than 5% of its estimated revenue from regular sources, for its Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (LDRRMF).

Davao del Norte governor Rodolfo del Rosario, concurrent chair of the Regional Development Council said that even with a P50 million budget per year, provinces find it difficult to maintain a disaster preparedness program, and more importantly, fund disaster relief efforts.

Del Rosario cited super typhoon Pablo, which hit Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley on December 4, 2012, as proof of this.

“We did not anticipate Pablo,” he said, adding that even with his experience leading a province, he had not experienced being in a major storm.

Del Rosario made the comment during the press briefing at the Regional Advocacy Forum on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change held at the Pinnacle Hotel Friday.

The governor, who served as Environment Minister during the last years of the Marcos dictatorship, said that while provinces are able to allocate 70% of the budget for mitigation measures, they would need additional funding from aid agencies to implement a more comfortable allocation.

He pointed to a program initiated by the National Economic Development Agency (NEDA), which in 2011 implemented the disaster planning program in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Australian Agency for International Aid (AusAID), and the New Zealand Aid Programme (NZAP).

The program aims to mainstream disaster preparedness measures from the level of budgeting to implementation across all levels of the LGU, with communities actively participating.

The three Pablo-hit provinces, along with Davao del Sur, submitted last Friday its enhanced Provincial Development and Physical Framework Plans (PDPFP) after years of planning.

The respective budgets would then be submitted to NEDA for consideration for funding.

Compostela Vice governor Manuel Zamora said LGUs have recently relied on the NEDA for funding of their major climate change-related projects, especially since the controversial priority development allocation fund (PDAF) for congressmen has been stopped.

According to a copy of Davao del Norte’s PDPSP, the province has been hit by nine major floods from 2011 to 2013 alone.

This translates to P930 million in infrastructure damage and P3.5 billion in agricultural damage for the years mentioned, it said.

Titon Mitra, UNDP Philippines country director, said the funding provided by UNDP for the program would not be in the form of loans but in the form of grants. (MindaNews)

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