Siao asks for update on $500-M WB facility for disaster risk reduction

 

By Rose de la Cruz

 

What is the status of this World Bank $500 million loan? When will the Filipino people gain from this credit line and how will the government pay for it?

 

Rep. Frederick Siao (lone district of Iligan) asked for an update on the WB loan in the wake of Mayon Volcano’s continuing eruption and devastation in Albay and surrounding areas.

 

He co-authored HB 1648, which seeks to create a National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority, one of 10 pending bills in the House.

 

More than two years have passed since the Aquino administration and World Bank disclosed in 2015 that the WB opened a $500 million loan or credit line to the Philippines for disaster risk management.

 

The Philippines has been hit by several devastating floods, earthquakes, a drought or dry spell in Mindanao, and now there is the eruption of Mayon Volcano during which the provincial government of Albay has called for help of the national government because their calamity funds have been depleted.

  

Only last November 17, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia asked Congress “to conclude the review of the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management or DRRM Act of 2010 to make our institutions more effective in ensuring that communities in the country are more resilient to natural and man-made shocks.”

 

“I again ask Secretaries Pernia and Diokno to convince President Duterte to certify the DRRM bills as urgent, so that both chambers of Congress will expedite those bills and get them passed before the end of the current second regular session in May 2018,” he said.

 

He also asked them to include more funding in the 2019 budget for disaster risk reduction and management, particularly for 4th, 5th, and 6th class municipalities—the most vulnerable and weakest in terms of DRRM.

 

A DRRM capacity building program for these high risks LGUs and developed by both the DBM and NDRRMC would be the appropriate solution and prevention.

 

As the representative of the lone district of Iligan City, he voiced concern that the DRRM programs of Iligan dovetail with those of nearby Cagayan de Oro City and Marawi City because disasters that strike any one of the cities affect the others.

 

He reached out to his colleagues and neighbors in CDO and Marawi to work out a framework and a bill for a metropolitan or inter-city approach to DRRM.

 

He said he supports and will convince other congressman to support the additional DRRM funding for the poorest municipalities which the DBM will propose and to get the DRRM Law amendments passed.

 

 

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