Reelectionist Senator Sonny Angara wants local government units (LGUs) to spend their local disaster funds wisely by prioritizing disaster planning and risk management, saying such move is more proactive and cost-effective in terms of disaster response.
“It is always better to be prepared than hope for the best and deal with the consequences after disaster strikes,” said Angara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government. “LGUs should not hesitate to spend their calamity funds for disaster preparedness.”
Angara issued the statement after the country was hit by two strong earthquakes, with magnitudes 6.1 and 6.5 in Luzon and Visayas, respectively, in two days.
He said that while it is true that disasters could happen without a warning, risks can nevertheless be managed in order to reduce the loss of lives, homes, infrastructure and economic activity.
“Disaster preparedness plays an important role in saving lives and livelihoods, particularly when integrated into an overall disaster risk reduction approach,” said the lawmaker from Aurora, who is running under the platform “Alagang Angara.”
To prevent casualties and damages during calamities, Angara said LGUs should implement precautionary measures like strict enforcement of the building code, limiting developments in disaster-prone areas, and identification of relocation and evacuation sites.
“These steps could help lessen the impact of future disasters. It doesn’t prevent earthquakes and extreme weather events, but it makes us more resilient to those impacts,” Angara said.
Angara then reminded LGUs to strictly comply with the provisions of Republic Act 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, which strengthens the country’s institutional capacity for disaster risk reduction and management and building resilience of local communities to disasters with LGUs as first disaster responders.
The law requires LGUs to set aside 5 percent of their estimated revenue from regular sources as Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (LDRRMF) to support disaster risk management activities.
Of the amount appropriated for LDRRMF, 70 percent must be spent for pre-disaster preparedness and risk reduction measures including training and purchase of life-saving rescue equipment, supplies and medicines. The remaining 30 percent is allocated as quick response fund or standby fund for relief and recovery programs.
Unexpended LDRRMF shall accrue to a special trust fund for disaster risk management activities within the next 5 years. Any special trust fund unutilized after 5 years shall revert to the LGU’s general fund. #