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Drilon wants to use funds for unfilled gov’t posts for Yolanda rehab efforts

A resident holding an umbrella walks on ruins of houses which were devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, near a coastal town in Tacloban city, central Philippines November 13, 2013. Desperation gripped Philippine islands devastated by Typhoon Haiyan as looting turned deadly on Wednesday and survivors panicked over delays in supplies of food, water and medicine, some digging up underground water pipes and smashing them open. Five days after one of the strongest storms ever recorded roared over cities and towns in the central Philippines, survivors in remote regions complained they had yet to receive any aid.(MNS photo)

A resident holding an umbrella walks on ruins of houses which were devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, near a coastal town in Tacloban city, central Philippines November 13, 2013. Desperation gripped Philippine islands devastated by Typhoon Haiyan as looting turned deadly on Wednesday and survivors panicked over delays in supplies of food, water and medicine, some digging up underground water pipes and smashing them open. Five days after one of the strongest storms ever recorded roared over cities and towns in the central Philippines, survivors in remote regions complained they had yet to receive any aid.(MNS photo)

MANILA, Nov 14 (Mabuhay) – Senate President Franklin Drilon on Thursday proposed the use of funds for unfilled government posts next year for rehabilitation efforts in areas hit by recent natural disasters, including super typhoon Yolanda.

In a statement, Drilon proposed that the Senate realign P15 billion from the proposed Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF) next year to create a calamity assistance and rehabilitation effort (CARE) fund.

The MPBF is a stand-by allocation for the filling up of unfilled government posts, and for the creation of new positions in the bureaucracy.

“The 2014 national budget must provide for funds badly needed by our countrymen, who suffered the misfortunes brought about by the series of massive natural and man-made disasters,” the Senate leader said.

He added that allocations for rehabilitation efforts in next year’s spending plan, such as the P7.5-billion calamity fund, seem not enough considering the extent of the damage caused by Yolanda and the earthquake in Bohol last month.

“The magnitude of the damage caused by the recent calamities most specifically super typhoon ‘Yolanda’ is extensive. The rehabilitation aspect would require much more funds,” Drilon said.

Over 2,357 people  have been confirmed dead after super typhoon Yolanda ravaged the Visayas and parts of Luzon last week, based on latest government records.

In mid-October, a magnitude-7.2 quake also hit Bohol Island in the Visayas region, leaving over 200 dead and various infrastructures – including heritage churches – severely damaged.

Senate finance chief Francis Escudero earlier proposed the realignment of proposed budgets for less urgent projects next year to build a P10-billion rehabilitation fund for the Visayas region.

Senators’ fund-raising efforts

Meanwhile, Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito organized an invitational golf tournament on Friday at the posh Wack-Wack Golf and Country Club – part of the proceeds of which will go to victims of typhoon Yolanda.

Ejercito earlier proposed that his P200-million pork barrel allocation next year be used to rehabilitate areas hit by Yolanda and the magnitude-7.2  earthquake.

Senator Grace Poe, for her part, will also hold a fund-raising dinner at the San Sebastian College-Recoletos in Manila on Friday night to gather donations for victims of the recent super typhoon.

Even employees of the Senate raised over P300,000 to be turned over the Philippine National Red Cross to support Yolanda relief efforts. (MNS)

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