SENATE BILL GIVES
P10 B TO TYPHOON VICTIMS AND P 23 M FROM PDAF
Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago filed two legislative measures Monday to fund relief operations, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of areas devastated by Typhoon Ondoy.
One of them is Senate Bill No. 3461 appropriating
P 10 B to fund disaster management efforts in the wake of the storm that brought record breaking rainfall. Dubbed as the Ondoy Fund, P 8 B of the appropriation will come from the proceeds from the Road Users Tax while the remaining P 2 B will be sourced from local government units.
“The road tax should have been used for road maintenance and drainage systems in the first place. What could have been used as preventive measures will now be used as a cure,” Santiago said.
The senator laid out guidelines in her bill for the allocation of the Ondoy Fund, stating that the priority shall be given to the following:
1) the construction and repair of various infrastructures such as roads and bridges, and other projects such as drainage works and resettlement centers; and
2) funding for aid, relief, rehabilitation, and livelihood of the typhoon victims.
Santiago also filed Senate Resolution No. 1378 urging fellow senators to donate at least
P 1 million from their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to aid the victims of Ondoy.
“The most kickback-prone projects from pork barrels are those involving public works. In this case, we will make sure that there will be full public disclosure of the disbursement of the funds donated for the benefit of the victims of the storm Ondoy,” she said.
She pointed out a December 2004 precedent where 19 senators allocated
P 7,050,000 from their PDAF to finance relief operations and reconstruction programs in Aurora and Quezon provinces devastated by a series of storms to hit the country that year.
“Although no senator followed up his or her pledge to my project called ‘one senator, one PGH (Philippine General Hospital) machine’ in 2005, I am confident that my colleagues will heed my call this time with the degree of destruction Ondoy left,” Santiago said.
The senator also appealed to the members of the House of Representatives for the immediate passage of the Disaster Risk Reduction Bill directed at modernizing the equipment of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). It was approved in the Senate on 2 September 2009.
“The devastation wrought by Ondoy underscores the need to modernize the country’s weather forecasting system. PAGASA needs to upgrade its equipment so that we would get early and efficient weather advisories,” Santiago said.