Local governments in Albay can now tap into their calamity funds in responding to the hazardous threats from Mayon Volcano following the release of the province’s internal revenue allotment (IRA), Malacañang announced on Tuesday, January 23.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Jr. in a Palace press briefing said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released on Monday, January 22, Albay’s IRA for January. This means that local governments in the province can now use their contingency funds for disaster-response operations.
“[T]he DBM confirmed that as of yesterday, Monday, they released the IRA for Albay, so that the different local governments of Albay can tap their five-percent contingency funds and this release has been confirmed by Governor Bichara,” Roque said.
The slight delay in the IRA release was among the concerns raised by Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara during an official Palace press briefing held in Legazpi City. Bichara said local government units (LGUs) started using their own savings to respond to the calamity as they awaited funds from DBM.
Roque for his part assured Bichara that the national government would quickly address their concern. Following his assurance, the Secretary immediately relayed the matter to the Budget Department and the Presidential Management Staff (PMS).
“When I was in Albay, parang may temporary delay in the release… So this is something that I relayed to DBM and PMS and immediately on the same day, they said that steps were taken and that the IRA could be withdrawn as of Monday,” Roque said.
Apart from the province’s contingency funds, the Spokesperson said a total of P19,391,288.76 worth of assistance has been provided to families affected by Mayon’s recent activity.
Of this, P16,221,024.72 came from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), while P124,605.00 came from the LGUs and P3,045,659.04 came from non-government organizations (NGOs).
To date, the government recorded that 12,214 families or 48,614 persons from 39 barangays have been affected by the calamity. Meanwhile, 7,455 families or 28,846 persons are now taking temporary shelter in 29 evacuation centers throughout Albay.
Roque assured that concerned agencies from both national and local governments are conducting daily visits to the evacuation centers to monitor the situation and to further determine other services needed by the evacuees.
Palace : Duterte not interested in term extension
Meanwhile, Secretary Roque reiterated the President’s pronouncement that he is not interested in extending his term should the country become a federal state.
Roque said if the administration’s allies would insist on a transitory provision requiring the President to serve longer, the Chief Executive would still step down in 2022.
“Kung ano man ang mangyayari na transitory provision, consider him out of the question… the latest pronouncements of the President is clear. He’s out of office by 2022,” he noted.
Roque stressed that shifting to federalism remains a top priority of the President, but he clarified that the Executive department would respect Congress’ authority to amend the Constitution. ### PCO- Content