Press Release
September 24, 2006

2006 Supplemental budget to set aside P2.05B
rehabilitation fund of Panay and Bicol Regions

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Franklin M. Drilon today said the P46.9 billion supplemental budget for year 2006, which was approved by Congress last week, provides for adequate appropriations for the rehabilitation of disaster areas in Western Visayas and the Bicol Region.

"A total of P2.050 billion has been allocated to immediately respond to the needs of the areas in Region 6 affected by the oil spill and to fund relief operations and other assistance for the families in Region 5 affected by the Mayon Volcano eruption," Drilon said.

In particular, the amount of P450 million has been appropriated specifically for the provinces in Region 6 to financially assist these areas in their rehabilitation, Drilon said. Of this amount, P200 million shall be used for livelihood and other assistance to the victims of the Guimaras oil spill and shall be released directly to the provincial governments of Guimaras, Iloilo, Negros Occidental and other affected LGUs identified by the National Disaster Coordinating Council, he added.

"We cannot overemphasize the need to provide assistance to those affected by disasters in our country, especially the poor fishermen who lost their means of livelihood in the course of the oil spill," Drilon said.

Also, the amount of P300 million has been earmarked to fund relief operations and rehabilitation of communities affected by the impending eruption of Mayon Volcano eruption. "This addresses the need for considerable resources to finance their requirements for food and health concerns," Drilon said.

Drilon noted that although there seems to be a noticeable decline in activity in Mayon Volcano in recent days, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology still has not ruled out an imminent and deadly eruption.

Drilon said the appropriations of P2.05 billion to address these disasters were allocated to the following: P250 million to the provinces affected by the oil spill as funding support for their rehabilitation plans, P200 million to be released directly to the provincial governments in Region 6 for livelihood and other assistance, P250 million to the Department of Social Welfare and Development for cash for work livelihood, P100 million goes to the Department of Agriculture to finance livelihood projects, P364.6 million for livelihood and other support services for agrarian reform beneficiaries in the provinces of Guimaras, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental which have been affected by the Guimaras oil spill, P 200 million for clean up operations, P118 million to the Philippine Coast Guard for the cleanup of the oil spill, P130 million to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for waste disposal management and restoration of coastal natural resources, P22 million has been allocated to the Department of Health for the purpose of disease surveillance and health monitoring, P50 million for the repair and rehabilitation of the UP Visasays Taklong marine station, P 65.4 Million for other agencies assisting in the rehabilitation of the areas affected by the oil spill, and P 300 million specifically for the relief operation and rehabilitation of areas affected by the Mayon volcano eruption.

"The Guimaras oil spill and the Mayon Volcano eruption have made life much more difficult for the victims of these tragedies. But we are certain that through these allocations, we can somehow lighten the load of our suffering countrymen, helping them surmount the challenges hurled by such natural and man-made disasters that hound our country," Drilon said.

The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved the Senate version of the supplemental appropriations, doing away with a Bicameral Conference Committee meeting.

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