To improve the capacity of local government units (LGUs) in responding to disasters, Senator Win Gatchalian has filed a bill that seeks to expand the use of the Local Disaster Risk and Reduction Management (LDRRM) Fund.
Senate Bill No. 939, which Gatchalian filed, seeks to amend the Philippine Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Act of 2010 (Republic Act No. 10121) to broaden LGUs’ options in the utilization of the LDRRM Fund. Under Gatchalian’s proposal, the LDRRM Fund may be used to finance infrastructure projects designed to mitigate the effects of natural disasters.
“Dahil sa palaging tinatamaan ng kalamidad at sakuna ang ating bansa, dapat handa tayo sa lahat ng pagkakataon upang maiwasang masira ang mga tahanan at mga gusali, mawasak ang kabuhayan, at may buhay na makitil higit sa lahat,” Gatchalian said.
“Dahil mas malapit ang ating mga lokal na pamahalaan sa ating mga kababayan, kailangan nating patatagin ang kanilang kakayahan na rumesponde sa mga kalamidad. Ngunit hindi nila ‘to magagawa kung kulang ang kanilang pondo, kaya naman iminumungkahi nating palawigin ang maaaring paggamitan ng lokal na pondo para sa pagresponde sa mga kalamidad at sakuna,” he added.
Gatchalian also proposes the use of the LDRRM Fund to pay for obligations incurred in funding projects related to disaster preparedness and mitigation. He also proposes the use of the LDRRM Fund to hire necessary personnel that would implement local DRRM programs.
Gatchalian, who served as Mayor of Valenzuela City for three terms, noted that when an LGU is less prone to disasters or calamities, its LDRRM Fund accrues to a special trust fund which may only be used for disaster risk and reduction management (DRRM) for the next five years.
To give LGUs more leeway to utilize unused funds, Gatchalian proposes that the unexpended LDRRM Fund within a year be used exclusively for local DRRM activities only for the next three years instead of five as mandated by R.A 10121. Under Gatchalian’s proposal, funds that were not utilized after three years shall revert to the LGU general fund and be available for social services to be identified by the local council.