BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG-CAR) warned local executives to strictly adhere to the proper utilization of the mandatory 5 percent disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) funds to prevent the imposition of the appropriate sanctions against them by concerned government authorities.
John M. Castañeda, DILG-CAR regional director, said concerned agencies are strictly monitoring the utilization of the local governments of the DRRM funds in order to address the needs of the concerned local governments, especially in addressing their basic requirements to be able to cope up with the occurrence of natural and human-induced disasters in their respective areas of jurisdiction.
Under the guidelines, 70 percent of the 5 percent DRRM funds should be earmarked for the purchase of units of equipment and other infrastructure projects related to proper disaster risk reduction and management while 30 percent will be earmarked for quick response fund, especially during the onslaught of natural calamities.
However, it was learned that some local governments have been utilizing their 5 percent DRRM funds solely for the purchase of units of equipment and various types of infrastructure while other local governments have used up their DRRM funds for the stockpiling of relief goods among other basic requirements for quick response.
“Our local executives must make sure that the utilization of their DRRM funds should comply with the prescribed guidelines to avoid the disallowance of the expenditures that go above board and concerned local officials who authorized such excessive spending will face the consequences of their actions,” Castañeda stressed.
He explained the existing DRRM fund was previously the 5 percent calamity fund that is mandatory for allocation in the budget of local governments and that it is held in trust that will be subject to carry over in the next budgeting cycle once the same is not used up.
On the other hand, Andres Alex Uy, regional director of the Cordillera office of Civil Defense (OCD-CAR), revealed local governments could access the funding for the put up of their respective evacuation centers and disaster operation centers from the national government, thus, it would spare them from using up the allocations for infrastructure which could be used for more important projects of the local governments in order to make them disaster resilient in the future.
He said local governments were able to learn how to prioritize the purchase of their DRRM units of equipment using their limited resources that is why most local governments now are considered to be ready for DRRM and to combat the serious negative effects of the onslaught of natural calamities.
”We want to empower stakeholders to be actively involved in DRRM interventions because DRRM is not only the obligation of the government but it is also the responsibility of the people in order to achieve the ambitious goal of zero casualties during the occurrence of natural calamities in our communities,” Uy said.
He called on local executives to continue updating their respective DRRM plans and programs in order to cope with the fast changing times, especially in information and communication technology (ICT). By Dexter A. See