THE SENATE is verifying possible funding sources for the P30-billion supplemental budget after President Rodrigo R. Duterte sought to expedite emergency aid for local government units (LGUs) affected by the Taal eruption.

“We will have to find out how much is readily available in calamity funds of the national government, (the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund) and the (Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund),” Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, Finance Committee Vice Chairman, said in a statement Tuesday.

Mr. Duterte on Monday asked the 18th Congress to pass a supplemental budget to fund government efforts to provide relief from Taal.

Mr. Duterte also directed Congress to pass a measure for the construction of permanent evacuation centers in disaster-prone areas.

Mr. Lacson cited the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, Republic Act No. 10121, which requires LGUs to allocate at least 5% of their income to the LDRRMF (Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund).

“Counting five years backwards from January 2020 when Taal erupted, as RA 10121 mandates that unexpended LDRRMF shall accrue to a special trust fund solely for the purpose of supporting disaster risk reduction and management activities of the LDRRMCs within the next five years, I can imagine they still have sufficient funds,” he added.

Senator Risa N. Hontiveros-Baraquel proposed that the supplemental budget earmark P30,000 worth of cash assistance to each family that sustained damage to their homes.

She said beneficiaries may be classified by the damage obtained by their houses, or as may be recommended by the rehabilitation plan the government is drafting. — Charmaine A. Tadalan