Disaster-response projects receive P191M in DoF funding

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Carlos G. Dominguez III

THE government has released nearly P200 million to four local government units (LGUs) looking to implement disaster mitigation programs, with more projects expected to be approved towards boosting climate change adaptation in the country.

The Department of Finance (DoF) yesterday turned over P191.746 million to four towns and cities, charged against the P1-billion People’s Survival Fund (PSF) meant to finance programs for disaster risk mitigation and response.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, who sits as chairman of the PSF Board, turned over checks worth P39.048 million for Lanuza, Surigao del Sur; P80.706 million for Del Carmen on Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte; P33.892 million for San Francisco, Camotes Island, Cebu; and P38.1 million for Gerona, Tarlac.

These projects are the first to be financed by the PSF, which provides grants for climate change mitigation initiatives. The LGUs will provide counterpart funding totaling P41.014 million, bringing the total amount to P232.759 million.

The PSF can be tapped to finance infrastructure and information programs specifically meant for climate change adaptation measures, which include flood control systems, watersheds, forest managements, as well as capacity-building initiatives for LGUs.

“The People’s Survival Fund was set up to help improve the ability of our communities to cope with the consequences of climate change. Although the fund may not be enough to meet all our needs, it is a far-sighted initiative to help reduce disaster risks and improve the resilience of our communities,” Mr. Dominguez said during the turnover ceremony at the DoF headquarters yesterday.

National Treasurer Rosalia V. de Leon said separately that nine other projects are in the pipeline for funding, which are worth P979.689 million. Decisions on these proposals — which cover ecosystem improvement, coastal resources management and disaster risk management capacity building — are expected by June.

If approved, the grants will be sourced from the remaining P1-billion PSF allocation under the 2016 national budget.

Republic Act 10174 signed in 2012 created the PSF, which sets a P1-billion floor for annual funding for the program. Congress may raise its allocation via the annual budget of the national government.

The Philippines is one of 20 countries considered most vulnerable to the impact of natural disasters and climate change. The DoF earlier said that more than 1,000 deaths occur yearly in the Philippines due to natural calamities, with typhoons accounting for 74% of lives lost, 62% of damage to property, and 70% of damage to agriculture. — Melissa Luz T. Lopez