MANILA-- To help rebuild the strife-torn Marawi City, a senator on Thursday pushed for the creation of a multiyear appropriation "Bangon Marawi Fund" to be sourced from the government's calamity fund.
In a statement, Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara said the fund can be sourced from the PHP21. 8 billion Calamity Fund in the 2017 national budget. Next year's funding can be authorized by the 2018 national budget.
Malacanang previously said that Pres. Rodrigo Duterte is expected to submit the 2018 national budget to Congress on the fourth Monday next month, in time for his State of the Nation Address.
Angara, chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, said that there is also a PHP6 billion Quick Reaction Fund (QRF) lodged in the budget of six agencies mandated to respond to disasters which can be used for the needs of residents crammed in evacuation centers.
Based on the provisions of the 2017 national budget, the senator said that the QRF should be downloaded early on the fiscal year so this can be tapped immediately in case of disaster.
On top of the PHP6 billion QRF is the National Disaster and Risk Reduction and Management Fund, the Calamity Fund's official name. It has a budget of PHP15.8 billion this year.
Angara, meanwhile, expressed hope that needs assessment in Marawi City is currently being conducted.
"I hope that someone is doing a needs assessment right now. This early, there must be a group running the numbers, no matter how sketchy, on how much is needed to bring Marawi back on its feet," Angara said.
The senator pointed out that a preliminary inventory of the infrastructure, social, economic resources that Marawi City would be needing is the first step of creating a post-war blueprint.
He further said that government should also start planning for a post-conflict scenario as the conflict is ongoing.
Source: Philippines News Agency