Local governments urged to use calamity fund wisely

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011


THE Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) urged local government units (LGUs) in Eastern Visayas to use their calamity fund wisely and come up with a contingency plan to reduce risk of disaster during calamities.

Office of Civil Defense (OCD) regional director and RDRRMC chairman Rey Gozon said the council continues to strengthen its capacity to help LGUs and is urging those in dire need of financial support in times of calamities to avail themselves of the agency’s fund.

“Republic Act 10121 provides the proper utilization of the 5-percent disaster risk reduction and management fund by the local disaster risk reduction and management councils,” Gozon said.

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Gozon added that 30 percent of the five-percent calamity fund, now known as the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund, must be utilized for quick response. The remaining 70 percent must be used for the preparedness, mitigation and rehabilitation activities.

RA 10121 provides that “Of the amount appropriated for LDRRMF, 30 percent shall be allocated as Quick Response Fund (QRF) or stand-by fund for relief and recovery programs in order that situation and living conditions of people. In communities or areas stricken by disasters, calamities, epidemics, or complex emergencies, may be normalized as quickly as possible.”

Gozon said LGUs should use their calamity fund wisely by focusing on disaster risk reduction, which is a proactive approach to disaster management rather than pouring resources for rescue-and-relief operations.

“The local calamity fund is 5 percent of the annual income of LGUs. With such fund, LGUs should be able to prepare for disasters, particularly typhoons and flash floods,” Gozon said.

“LGUs should use their fund to enhance their capacities. They should use it to conduct disaster drills, buy equipment for search and rescue, strengthen their emergency response through training, or they can even use the fund to come up with a local hazard map or buy relief goods and medicine which they can use during rescue-and-relief operations,” he said.

Meanwhile, Gozon revealed that the RDRRMC, through its national council, is planning to come up with new guidelines that will make the calamity fund a continuing appropriation, which means that LGUs will be able to use the fund for purposes other than disaster management after a year.

According to Gozon, at present, the unused calamity fund of LGUs goes to a trust fund and local officials can only use it for disaster response.

It was learned that by the end of 2011, the NDRRMC will come up with a circular that will make such a thing of the past.

“The calamity fund will be a continuing appropriation and they can use the fund for whatever purpose they deem necessary,” he said.

Gozon said spending the money wisely to enhance their capacities to address the challenge of climate change will be the best thing to do, as far as the RDRRMC is concerned. (Leyte Samar Daily Express)

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