The Provincial Government of Bohol (PGBh) will now have a fresh calamity fund for 2022 after the province’s disaster relief allocation last year was almost immediately depleted in the aftermath of Typhoon Odette’s onslaught in mid-December, leaving Governor Art Yap scrambling to get financial assistance from the national government.
According to Provincial Budget Officer Peter Retutal, the PGBh can now start to utilize the province’s calamity fund for 2022 to finance relief operations after Typhoon Odette pummeled the island leaving over 100 people dead and tens of thousands homeless.
Retutal, in a press conference on Thursday last week, said the province allocated P191 million for disaster risk reduction and management (DDRM) which may be utilized once the new year starts.
However, the provincial government can initially use only 30 percent of the total fund pending the realignment of the rest of the allocation if deemed necessary.
“Considering that we are in a state of calamity, we can realign. We cannot realign budgets for 2022 yet kay dili pa siya operative, nig tungtong sa 2022, we can realign kung kinahanglan,” Retutal said.
In the same press conference, Yap explained that 70 percent of the DRRM fund is allocated for pre-disaster preparedness and risk reduction measures, leaving 30 percent for the quick release fund which may be used during calamities.
“Ang disaster management fund, 70 percent para sa training, para sa pagpalit sa mga ekipo, para sa capacity building, and 30 percent ra ang mahabilin para sa emergency quick response kung simbako naa tay gi atubang na calamity pursuant to guidelines,” Yap said.
According to Retutal, the province allocated P147 million for DRRM in 2021 but most of the amount was used to fund COVID-19 -response programs.
“Kaning P147 million daghan tang gipang gasto ani for COVID especially for rice na daghan naapektuhan, for equipment, medical supplies, medicines,” said Retutal.
This left the provincial government with P30 million to spend on relief aid.
Earlier, Yap announced that he could no longer provide rice and other food aid after his contingency fund ran out.
“Kami sa provincial government, inubos ko yung last P30 million namin. Wala na talaga kaming pera, inubos namin lahat, and then kulang parin yun,” said Yap.
Yap warned that if no financial aid will be extended by the national government, military and police troops may be needed for deployment to prevent looting because of growing hunger.
“If the DSWD cannot give us the financial support right now, Mr. President I don’t know how to reach you—thank you very much for coming to Bohol in the last two days—but I am sending messages right now, just please send troops and please send police kung hindi kayo magpapadala ng pera para sa pagkain magpadala kayo ng sundalo at magpadala kayo ng pulis kasi kung hindi, magllooting dito,” said Yap.