BAGUIO CITY – The city government will extend financial assistance to the calamity-stricken province of Apayao to help the disaster victims recover from the wrath of the recent weather disturbances that struck most parts of Northern Luzon over the past several weeks.
Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong said the amount of P500,000 which will serve as the local government’s assistance to Apayao will be sourced from the unappropriated quick response component of the city’s local disaster risk reduction fund which will be approved by the City Council in the form of an ordinance.
However, the City Mayor assured that the city government will still have some funds left over for any eventuality of disaster hitting the city for the remaining part of the year after even after sending this assistance to Apayao.
He claimed he talked with Apayao Gov. Eleanor Bulut-Begtang the previous days on the extent of damages suffered by Apayao during the recent visit of Tropical Storms Quiel, Ramon and Sarah, exacerbated by the tail end of the cold front that inflicted serious damages to properties and agricultural crops and the loss of lives.
Currently, the regional and provincial disaster risk reduction councils are assessing the extent of damages caused by the recent weather disturbances that prevailed over most parts of Northern Luzon over the past several weeks.
Aside from the recorded 6 casualties, 2 deaths and 4 injuries, Apayao also suffered from millions worth of damages on infrastructure and agriculture with numerous landslides along roads in upper Apayao causing the isolation of some municipalities in the upland areas.
Earlier, the city government earmarked P2 million from the same source of fund as financial assistance to the earthquake-stricken areas in Mindanao and Batanes with P1.5 million earmarked for the affected local governments in Mindanao while the P500,000 will be given as calamity assistance to Batanes.
The city government made it a practice that trace back to the previous administrations the provision of financial assistance in solidarity with calamity-stricken areas in other parts of the country having received same assistance in the aftermath July 16, 1990 killer earthquake that helped Baguio rise from the disaster.
Under the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, local governments are mandated to appropriate at least 5 percent of its annual budget for disaster risk reduction and management programs, projects and activities wherein 70 percent shall be earmarked for preparedness and mitigation measures while 30 percent will be set aside for quick response interventions.
The quick response fund is not appropriated for specific programs, projects and activities but for emergency needs of the concerned local governments in time of disasters.
By Dexter A. See