Senator Franklin M. Drilon today assured the public that there is sufficient funds to reconstruct infrastructures such as roads, bridges and dikes which were destroyed and damaged by the recent bad weather that flooded most part of Luzon, particularly the National Capital Region and Central Luzon.
In an interview with DzBB, Drilon said the current General Appropriations Act provided sufficient budget for quick response activities lodged in different agencies for immediate disaster response efforts. Such agencies include the Departments of Agrciulture, Social Welfare and Development, Education, Health, Public Works and Highways and National Defense, he noted.
"I would like to allay fears that the government has not maintained sufficient funds for the need of our people greatly affected by the recent disaster. Funds are sufficient to respond to the basic needs of our people, as well as to rehabilitate roads, bridges, dikes and other infrastructure that were left in a sorry state as the aftermath of the disaster," said Drilon who chairs the Senate Finance Committee.
"Matutugunan po ng ating kasalukuyang budget ang agarang pagkumpuni ng mga nasirang tulay at daan upang mabilis na makabalik sa normal ang buhay ng ating mga kababayan," he added. "We will ask the government to intensify its rehabilitation efforts and we, in the Senate, will do our part to address woes of our people affected by the calamity," he stressed.
In the DPWH alone. Drilon said about P300 million is still available that can be used to work on damaged infrastructure. This is on top of its budget for maintenance of roads and bridges throughout the country.
Based on the report by the Department of Budget and Management, a total of P2.98 billion is available for those agencies.
"However, with the magnitude and extent of damage to infrastructure alone, these funds may have to be augmented in order to work on necessary engineering interventions such as the construction of dikes in Marikina and Laguna Lake, among others," Drilon said.
Given this situation, he said he will start to look for possible additional sources of funds to immediately brought about by the recent torrential rains, including the immediate repair of dikes and other flood control facilities in Central Luzon, particularly in Pampanga, which damage was estimated to be around P1 billion.
He cited, for instance, the savings generated by the DPWH amounting to about P3 billion because of the reformed it has instituted in the bidding process could be tapped to rehabilitate road and bridges.
Drilon is also open to possibility of applying for loan assistance from other countries such as the South Korea and Japan who expressed willingness to help the country in putting forward a long-term solution to recurring flooding in the country.
"We need to think of long term solutions to address this perennial problem on floods not only in Metro Manila but all throughout the country," said Drilon.
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