Davao approves P10 million aid for 5 Luzon provinces hit by ‘Usman’

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 3 Jan) – The City Council of Davao has approved in a special session on Thursday the disbursement of P10 million in assistance for the five provinces in Luzon hit by Tropical Depression Usman.

The passage of the ordinance allowed City Mayor Sara Duterte to “utilize the 30% quick response fund (QRF) out of the 5% Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (Calamity fund)” of the City Government of Davao in 2019” as provided for by Section 21 of the Republic Act 10121, or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010.

A budget worth P130.8 million has been set aside as a QRF in 2019 of the local government that can be tapped in times of disaster in the city and to aid other local government units (LGUs) hit by calamities in 2019.

Of the amount, the ordinance indicated that at least P5 million will be allocated for food and relief assistance and the remaining P5 million cash assistance will be distributed to the five provinces – Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, and Sorsogon in Bicol Region, and Oriental Mindoro in Mimaropa – at P1 million each.

In a press release issued by the City Information Office (CIO), Central 911 head Emmanuel Jaldon said Oriental Mindoro and Camarines Norte provinces will receive financial assistance and no more food and relief assistance since they are difficult to access after “Usman” hit.

CIO head Jefry Tupas confirmed Oriental Mindoro and Camarines Norte’s share of the “food and relief assistance” will be converted to cash, leaving the two provinces with P2 million in cash assistance from the City Government of Davao.

The five provinces have been declared under the state of calamity due to the damage caused by “Usman.”

“The P10 million will come from the QRF, P5 million of which will be in cash and the (recipient) local governments will decide on how they are going to use it. The remaining P5 million will be in the form of relief goods for those victims who are still in evacuation areas,” the release quoted the newly-appointed City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CDRRMO) chief Alfredo Baluran as saying.

Baluran said the city government could not provide assistance to provinces affected by the tropical depression that are not placed under a state of calamity.

“We cannot give assistance to those provinces that are not under state of calamity, we need to wait for them (to be declared as such). Rest assured, the city will help other areas that are also affected by the typhoon,” he said.

Under Section 324 (d) of the Republic Act 7160, also known as the Local Government Code, as amended by RA 8185, the “5% of the estimated revenue from regular sources shall be set aside as annual lump sum appropriations for relief, rehabilitation, reconstruction, and other works or services in connection with calamities which may occur during the budget year. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)