TACLOBAN CITY – The pruning of the national calamity budget for this year was questioned by a group of “Yolanda” survivors saying that the reduction could hamper delivery of assistance considering the frequency of natural disasters hitting the country every year.
Given this undeniable trend in natural calamities, disaster mitigation and post-disaster response (both short-term and strategic long-term rehabilitation) should be prioritized and should therefore take up a considerable portion of the national budget, said Danny Carranza, spokesperson of the Community of Yolanda Survivors and Partners(CYSP).
“[These post-disaster reports] should serve as a reminder to our government that the new normal will require allocating bigger not smaller budget for disaster response,” Carranza said.
The group was referring to the move of Malacañang to reduce the national calamity budget for the current fiscal year from its previous allocation.
Under the P3.35 trillion 2017 budget, the calamity fund was given an allocation of P15.7 billion or a reduction of about P23 billion from last year’s P38 billion.
Based on a report by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), the Philippines ranked fourth among countries stricken with the most number of disasters.
In 2016 alone, 26 storms and 12 typhoons wreaked havoc on the country.
State weather office Pagasa reported that the number of destructive tropical cyclones had increased in recent years.
In 2015, the Philippines endured 15 disasters.
In 2014, three major typhoons which caused most damage were Typhoon Glenda, Mario, and Ruby.
In 2013, 14 destructive tropical cyclones entered the country, the most devastating of which was supertyphoon “Yolanda” which displaced 16 million people and killed 6,000 people.
The government needs at least P360 billion to completely rehabilitate Yolanda’s destructions. (MEL CASPE)