We are all familiar with the super typhoon Ineng that wrecked havoc in Abra last week. As a result, the provincial government declared a State of Calamity.
According to the news, Abra Governor Eustaquio Bersamin said that 23,296 families or 88,392 persons from the 264 barangays of Abra were affected and are still the subject of relief efforts.
The P667-million damage absorbed by the province is broken down to damage to infrastructure at P445.755 million; crop damage at P181.575 million; the fisheries sector, P1.6 million; livestock, P10.54 million; and agricultural lands, P24.4 million.
What does it mean when we are in a State of Calamity? According to the Philippine Government Official Gazette :
A. Price Control for Basic Necessities and Prime Commodities
RA 7581, Section 6(1): “Price freeze for basic necessities is implemented for 60 days unless lifted… Prices of basic necessities in areas under a state of calamity shall automatically be frozen at their prevailing prices or placed under automatic price control whenever.”
RA 10121 Section 17(a): “Imposition of price ceiling on basic necessities and prime commodities by the President upon the recommendation of the implementing agency as provided for under Republic Act No. 7581, otherwise known as the ‘Price Act,’ or the National Price Coordinating Council.”
RA 10121 Section 17(b): “Monitoring, prevention and control by the Local Price Coordination Council of overpricing/profiteering and hoarding of prime commodities, medicines and petroleum products.”
B. Granting of No-Interest Loans
RA 10121 Section 17(d): “Granting of no-interest loans by government financing or lending institutions to the most affected section of the population through their cooperatives or people’s organizations.”
C. Appropriation for Calamity Funds
RA 10121 Section 17(c): “Programming/reprogramming of funds for the repair and safety upgrading of public infrastructures and facilities.”
RA 7160: “Automatic appropriation is available for unforeseen expenditures arising from the occurrence of calamities in areas declared to be in a state of calamity.”
RA 7160: “Local government units may enact a supplemental budget for supplies and materials or payment of services to prevent danger to or loss of life or property.”
Section 321: “A supplemental budget may also be enacted in times of public calamity by way of budgetary realignment to set aside appropriations for the purchase of supplies and materials or the payment of services which are exceptionally urgent or absolutely indispensable to prevent imminent danger to, or loss of, life or property, in the jurisdiction of the local government unit or in other areas declared by the President in a state of calamity.”
Section 324(d): “Five percent (5%) of the estimated revenue from regular sources shall be set aside as an annual lump sum appropriation for unforeseen expenditures arising from the occurrence of calamities: Provided, however, that such appropriation shall be used only in the area, or a portion thereof, of the local government unit or other areas declared by the President in a state of calamity.”
D. Importations and foreign donations
RA 10121 Section 18 (a): “The importation and donation of food, clothing, medicine and equipment for relief and recovery and other disaster management and recovery-related supplies is hereby authorized in accordance with Section 105 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, as amended, and the prevailing provisions of the General Appropriations Act covering national internal revenue taxes and import duties of national and local government agencies”
RA 10121 Section 18 (b): “Importations and donations under this section shall be considered as importation by and/or donation to the NDRRMC, subject to the approval of the Office of the President.”
Authorization for the importation of rice under Section 6 of RA 8178, the Agricultural Tariffication Act;
Entitlement to hazard allowance for Public Health Workers (under Section 21 of RA 7305, Magna Carta for Public Health Workers).
Entitlement to hazard allowance for science and technological personnel of the government under Section 7-c of RA 8439.
Let’s just hope that all these fund are appropriated properly and reach those folks who are in need the most and not just Declare a State of Calamity just for the heck of it.