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P32.1-B ‘calamity funds’ eyed for LGUs’ disaster preparedness

MANILA, Philippines: SEVERAL local government units in Metro Manila and nearby Rizal towns are eyeing to tap from a total of P32.1 billion calamity funds to strengthen their individual, as well as collective capacities, to cope with disasters.

The Alliance of Seven or A7, composed of the cities of Marikina, Pasig, Antipolo and Quezon, the Municipalities of Cainta, Rodriguez and San Mateo, is stepping up plans and programs to reduce vulnerabilities to climate change.

Over 150 local chief executives, city and municipal administrators, planners and local nongovernment organizations and citizens’ groups from the members of A7 held a planning workshop on disaster risk reduction in Marikina City on Thursday, to share ideas and expertise, and to harness initiatives for disaster and climate risk-sensitive development and DRR action plans across A7 members.

The DRR action plan focuses a) Disaster Vulnerabilities, Capacities and Needs Assessment; b) Early warning systems installation, command integration and contingency planning; c) Rehabilitation and Reforestation of the Marikina Watershed; d) Resettlement plan for highly at risk communities, including the possibilities for in-city relocation and livelihood assistance; and, e) Project development and resource mobilization for the implementation of disaster risk reduction plans and initiatives.

Roland Cabigas, managing director of the private think tank La Liga Policy Institute (La Liga) said a review of the 2011 budget reveals that A7 may tap funding support from at least eight national line agencies with climate change and disaster risk reduction mandates boost their DRR initiatives.

Aside from access to these funds, members of A7, he said, should look into the potential of forging ties with the private sector to boost in-city development plans through public-private partnership, anchored on disaster risk reduction and preparedness of A7 areas.

“PPP will play a vital role in A7’s various initiatives to make cities and communities disaster-ready. We need to harness the potential of public-private partnership on disaster risk reduction to enhance our capacities to cope and prepare for disasters,” Cabigas said.

La Liga, a development policy research and advocacy nongovernment organization is promoting a climate change-sensitive budget as part of its budget advocacy. Together with RESILIENCE: Nurturing Disaster-Ready Cities and Communities, La Liga work in partnership with A7 to promote disaster preparedness and in-city development among members of the LGU alliance.

Since the devastation of typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng”, funding for rescue, relief and rehabilitation were made available by the government for disaster risk reduction as well, to make disaster-prone areas more resilient to climate change and prepared for disasters.

For disaster vulnerabilities, capacities and needs assessment, Cabigas there is a list of programs with total funds of P5.7 billion from which the A7 can seek funding support; P16.2 billion for early warning systems and disaster contingency planning, P5.8 billion for reforestation and sustainable agriculture; and P4.4 billion for resettlement.

Funding for such initiatives, Cabigas said, can be sourced from the Climate Change Commission under the Office of the President, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Department of National Defense (DND), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

Cabigas added that LGUs may also tap the presidential social fund, and pork barrel funds of senators and congressmen. (La Liga Policy Institute)

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