Use idle calamity funds to build permanent shelters for Yolanda survivors, help victims of other calamities

Beryson sa Filipino.

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. today urged the government to use idle calamity funds to provide permanent shelter to survivors of super-typhoon Yolanda and help victims of other calamities that struck the country.

Marcos cited the report of the Commission on Audit which bared that as of the end of last year unused calamity funds and donations coursed through the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) under the Department of National Defense (DND) reached a total of P923 million.

COA said the biggest donation received was P137 million to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, managed by the OCD. Out of this amount, COA said only P38.7million was released as of the end of 2014, leaving an unutilized amount of P98.2 million.

“It has been two years since typhoon Yolanda devastated Tacloban and other nearby areas but many of the survivors are still complaining that they have yet to get permanent shelters that the government promised for them,” Marcos said.

It could be recalled that Marcos, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Works, conducted an investigation into the alleged sub-standard bunk houses constructed as temporary shelters of Yolanda survivors.

A group of Yolanda survivors cited data from the National Housing Authority, which showed that only 534 out of the 13,801 targeted permanent houses have been built by the government as of September this year.

“The sad thing is that the government could have used these funds to help disaster survivors. This smacks of not only insensitivity to the plight of the disaster survivors but also negligence of duty,” Marcos said.

Marcos vowed to bring up the issue of the unused calamity funds during the forthcoming 2016 budget deliberations in the Senate to ensure they will be used for their intended purpose.

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