THE Provincial Government of Negros Occidental may now utilize its P40-million quick response fund (QRF) after the province has been placed under a state of calamity due to the dry spell associated with El Niño, a Capitol executive said.
Ma. Lina Sanogal, head of the Provincial Planning and Development Office, said the quick response fund comprises 30 percent of the total Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (PDRRM) Fund this year amounting to P133.5 million.
The remaining 70 percent amounting to P93.45 million was allocated as preparation, prevention, and mitigation funds, she added.
“The Provincial Government has already been utilizing the 70 percent mitigation fund, but the 30 percent quick response fund cannot be used without the declaration of state of calamity,” Sanogal said.
Last Thursday, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) unanimously approved the declaration of a state of calamity as damage and losses to crops and animals in the province were pegged at P403.5 million.
The Provincial Board is expected to concur with the declaration of a state of calamity during its regular session on Wednesday, April 27.
Since the province is now under a state of calamity, Sanogal said that local government units (LGUs) may also utilize their respective disaster funds to help affected farmers and animal raisers in their localities.
Four LGUs, including Hinoba-an, Pontevedra, Hinigaran, and Sipalay City had earlier declared a state of calamity.
Other cities and municipalities not affected by the dry spell may also access their funds to help other affected LGUs in the province, Sanogal said.
“They should first utilize their municipal and city government funds before they can request for additional budget from the provincial government, but the province can still initiate projects for certain LGUs if needed even without the request,” she added.
Of the P403.5 million damage and losses, the rice sector incurred the biggest amount, at P211.97 million; sugarcane, P178.5 million; high-value commercial crops, P5.10 million; corn, P3.83 million; and tilapia, P985, 250.
Sanogal said that using the 70 percent mitigation fund, the province has already purchased and distributed agricultural equipment like water pumps and facilities to counter pest infestation, and has allocated funds for food stocks, including rice and medicines.
Based on the 2016 PDRRM Investment Plan approved earlier by the Provincial Board, the P93.45-million mitigation fund has been coursed through 14 agencies and departments.
The biggest funds went to the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist and the Provincial Planning and Development Office, with P12 million each.
The Provincial Veterinary Office has been allocated P8 million; Provincial Health Office, P9 million; Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, P5.7 million; Provincial Environment and Management Office, P5.7 million; Provincial Disaster Management and Program Division, P10.2 million; Amity Public Safety Academy, P3 million; Promotion and Information Section, P2.5 million.
Other agencies included in the 2016 PDRRM Fund are the Bureau of Fire Protection with P500,000; Department of Education, P1.9 million; Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, P1.6 million; and Provincial Engineer’s Office, P10 million.
A total of P6.1 million was intended for other programs, and as buffer fund.