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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

OCD urged to hasten release of calamity fund

SEN. Francis Joseph “Chiz” Escudero called on the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) to hasten the disbursement of calamity fund to areas affected by the oil spill in Oriental Mindoro during a Senate inquiry on the incident.

“This is a corrective memorandum circular, anyway. And legally, you can apply it retroactively, too, to previous and other claims filed or made by affected citizens and all local government units (LGUs),” Escudero said, noting the urgent need for the OCD and the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) to simplify the process of releasing aid to LGUs affected by natural and man-made disasters.

Escudero said LGUs affected by the oil spill should not suffer the same ordeal as Sorsogon’s when it was devastated by Typhoon “Tisoy” in December 2019.

The senator, Sorsogon’s governor during that time, said the province only received a calamity fund in 2022, or three years after the typhoon struck.

Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) data presented during the hearing said that 23,005 families or 108,162 persons residing in 118 villages in Oriental Mindoro and Palawan have been affected by the oil spill.

Some 8,387 families or 30,226 individuals living in four barangays in Caluya in Antique were also affected by the disaster.

The PCG said that the oil spill was now dispersed over 55 kilometers of the coastline of Mindoro, Palawan and Antique.

“Something must be done on the part of the OCD-NDRRMC. You must be able to find a way to hasten your procedures insofar as giving assistance is concerned,” Escudero said.

OCD Deputy Administrator Bernardo Alejandro 4th said the NDRRMC is reviewing the guidelines for the release of calamity funds as stated in its Memorandum Circular 45, issued in 2017.

The OCD said it will present a definite timeline for the revision of procedures on the matter by the end of April.

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Author: Bernadette E. Tamayo

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