January 14, 2020
BATANGAS CITY-- The government has at least P7 billion which the concerned agencies could tap for emergency use, such as the eruption of Taal Volcano and evacuation of Filipinos in the Middle East, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado said on Tuesday.
Avisado told reporters here before their meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte regarding the effect of the Taal Volcano eruption that the government has enough funds to address any disaster or emergency for this year.
"We have what we call as quick response fund in the departments and agencies considered as first responders. And therefore, they can use it immediately. If that is not enough, they can request for addition," he said.
He said the budget for quick response fund is part of the P4.1 trillion budget this year.
He cited that for the Department of Agriculture, the available fund is P1.5 billion; Department of Education, P2.5 billion; Department of Health, P600 million; Department of National Defense-Office of the Civil Defense, P250 million; Department of Public Works and Highways, P1 billion; and Department of Social Welfare and Development, P1.2 billion.
"So, we have the money," Avisado said.
He said the government is on relief and rescue operation of those affected by the volcano eruption.
Avisado said the administration would still have to determine the amount needed for the rehabilitation.
Asked if there would be a need to ask foreign help for the areas devastated by the eruption, he said, "If there’s an order from the President."
Aside from the volcano explosion, Duterte earlier ordered the repatriation of Filipinos in the Middle East, particularly in most dangerous countries, such as Iraq, due to the escalating tensions between the United States and Iran. Celerina Monte/DMS
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