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Iloilo readies P61-M fund to assist El Niño-hit communities

ILOILO CITY: Iloilo is preparing for the utilization of its PHP61 million quick response fund (QRF) as it placed the entire province under a state of calamity on Tuesday due to the El Niño phenomenon.

Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Cornelio Salinas said they would use the QRF while waiting for the action of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Committee on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management on the proposed re-programming of the PHP215 million trust fund.

He explained that the declaration comes with a PHP75.78 million budget intended for the mitigating, response, and recovery measures, chargeable in the PHP215 million trust fund.

The trust fund was reprogrammed as a buffer fund for El Niño and La Niña, and for it not to revert to the general fund, Salinas said.

‘The QRF has specific items where it can only be utilized. It can be used for relief goods, fuel, drugs and medicines, and water rationing, among others,’ he said in an interview.

For now, they will utilize the QRF depending
on the request of local government units limited to the items specified in the object of expenditure.

Currently, 15 local government units have declared the state of calamity, but with the provincewide declaration, all 42 municipalities and one component city of the province can also utilize their QRF.

Based on their available data, the damages due to the El Niño phenomenon are valued at over PHP1.02 billion, with 24,029 farmers and fisherfolk affected.

Further, 394 barangays experience water scarcity, while the water supply of 355 barangays is also affected by El Niño.

Source: Philippines News Agency