President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday urged the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to fast-track the release of calamity funds allotted to communities in regions affected by successive typhoons.
In a situation briefing in Pili, Camarines Sur, Duterte directed the DBM to cut in half the time spent in processing papers before funds are released.
“Ang problema lang sa (The problem), historically, is that ang government moves slowly especially the national government. So sa ganitong pangyayari, kung mabilisan ninyo (So in this situation, if you can hurry), cut the time to something like half or more than,” he said.
Duterte noted that people have been complaining of delays in receiving assistance, stressing there was a need to “move faster.”
“’Yan ang reklamo ng mga tao, especially kung ganito (That’s the complaint of people, especially when it’s like this). The time is of the essence, actually. They need to get hold of the things that are needed by them. Maka-access ka agad (They need immediate access),” he added.
He also assured that the government is not “negligent” of its duty to provide immediate rescue, relief, and assistance to typhoon-hit communities.
“In so far as the national government is concerned, the reaction of different offices would really matter. Sanay na sila diyan. Do not believe na walang ginagawa ‘yan. Long before the typhoon came, naka-deploy yung pagkain tapos yung tulong (They’re used to it. Do not believe they are not doing anything. Long before the typhoon came, they already deployed food, help),” he said.
Duterte said delays in the delivery of response may also be because of “complexities” of the job.
“If there’s any na pagkukulang (shortcomings) it’s not because of negligence. Sometimes talaga na-o-overload (they’re overloaded) because of the complexity of the job,” he said.
He said Presidential Adviser for Bicol Affairs Marvel Clavecilla, a former regional trial court (RTC) judge, could call him “anytime” if there were any delays in the distribution of assistance.
“I need only one person to call me anytime. Si Judge Clavecilla can do it. If there’s any delay, tawagan lang niya ako (she’ll just call me) and we can always do something about your complaint,” he said.
DBM Assistant Secretary Kim De Leon, in the same briefing, said the department initially proposed a PHP1.5 billion to replenish depleted calamity funds of local government units in areas affected by Typhoons Quinta and Rolly, particularly in Calabarzon, Mimaropa, and Bicol Regions.
However, he said the DBM also replenished the National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management (NDRRM) Fund with another PHP10 billion after Typhoon Ulysses hit the country.
“The DBM again augmented the NDRMM Fund by another PHP10 billion at ito po ulit ay puwede pong i-access ng (and this can be accessed by) national government agencies to replenish the respective Quick Response Fund po at para po dun sa mga (and for) regular rehabilitation and recovery programs,” he added. (PNA)