Zubiri Seeks P20 Billion Rehab Fund for Odette-hit Areas

For financial subsidies, reconstruction.
Photo/s: Victor Kintanar, Agence France-Presse

A measure has been filed in the Senate appropriating P20 billion for the rehabilitation of areas affected by Typhoon Odette (Rai), covering financial subsidies for families and reconstruction of damaged infrastructure.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri filed the proposed "Paglaum Fund Bill" after speaking with local officials in Odette-hit areas, wherein they determined that at least P20 billion is needed to begin the rehabilitation of affected provinces and municipalities in Visayas and Mindanao.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that as of Jan. 14, over 2.2 million families were affected by Typhoon Odette, with infrastructure damage amounting to P17.7 billion and agricultural damage amounting to P11.5 billion.

“It’s a large amount, and I expect we will run into some budgetary concerns, but we’re really hoping the executive finds it to be a fair assessment of what our affected provinces need, given how massive the damage has been," said Zubiri, who is from Bukidnon.

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Under the measure, the NDRRMC will be tasked to create a rehabilitation plan for the Department of Budget and Management, identifying the specific infrastructure projects that need rehabilitation or reconstruction.

The plan will also include the necessary intervention for affected families, such as direct financial assistance for those whose homes were destroyed by the typhoon.

“Having talked to Odette survivors face to face, and having seen the absolute devastation of their homes and their communities, we really specified the need for direct financial subsidies in the Paglaum Fund bill," Zubiri said.

Odette, the strongest storm of 2021, left over 400 reported deaths and displaced around 300,000 others, lashing the Visayas and parts of Mindanao with Signal no. 4 (171-220 kph) winds. A state of calamity was declared over several provinces, automatically freezing prices of basic goods and allowing local officials wider access to relief funds.


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