THE country will need P500 million funds in preparation of the aftermath of impending typhoons during the rainy seasons.

Social Welfare and Development secretary Dinky Soliman said the P500 million, left from the P2 billion calamity funds allocation in 2010, will not be enough in covering all disaster operations when typhoons strike this year.

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“We need to raise it from P500 million to P1 billion,” she said. “If it is going to affect only one province, you only need little amount of money but if it going to be like Ondoy, we will be need huge sum of money.”

“Let just pray that no major disaster happens until the end of 2010,” she added.

Soliman is meeting with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and Finance officials to source out supplemental funds for the operations of disaster risk management.

“We will be looking at pockets that are still full,” she said.

In the course that DBM could not generate extra money for calamity funds, Soliman said the country could still resort in seeking assistance from the international community.

In times of disaster, the government usually asks for assistance from the International Humanitarian Organization, United Nations, International Committee of the Red Cross, and members of the Association of South East Asian Nations.

Soliman noted that help could also come from local private sectors.

The DSWD official meanwhile revealed that one reason why the disaster budget for 2010 was short due was to the unremitted money from several private sectors which have pledged support during the onslaught of Ondoy and Pepeng.

She said the money that was supposed to be spent this year was already spent during the end of 2009 for rehabilitation and recovery from typhoons as well as for several problems that had happened in Mindanao.

Preparation for ‘Basyang’

With the onslaught of second Typhoon Basyang, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III immediately called for a meeting with all the vice chairmen of the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, which replaces the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) formed under the Arroyo administration.

“The directive of the President is to make sure that we are very prepared,” Soliman said after the meeting.

She added that Aquino would want to have a full monitoring of the amount rainfall, which is very crucial in releasing water in dams strategically placed across the country.

“He also directed us to update him in identifying the hazard areas. Right now, the country had 66 provinces within the hazard prone areas. Most of which are found in the Eastern seaboard.”

Soliman assured that relief goods have been prepositioned in different regions for the coming of Basyang.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Basyang (international codename: Conson) has turned into a typhoon with maximum sustained winds of 120 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 150 (kph).

Storm signal number 3 was hoisted over provinces of Catanduanes, Camarines Norte, Northern Quezon, including Polilo Island and Aurora.

Provinces under signal number 2 were Camarines Sur, other areas of Quezon, Laguna, Rizal, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Viscaya, Ifugao, Quirino, and Isabela.

Signal number 1 was raised over Albay, Marinduque, Batangas, Cavite, Bataan, Pampanga, Zambales, Tarlac, Pangasinan, La Union, Benguet, Mt. Province, Ilocos Sur, Kalinga Apayao, Cagayan and Metro Manila. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)