Albay, Bicol — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has expressed his confidence that the government has enough budget to provide further aid to families affected by the recent activities of Mayon Volcano. Albay Governor Edcel Greco Lagman estimated that P196,711,000 is required by the provincial government to assist the evacuees for 90 days, with P30 million already spent from the province’s quick response fund. Inquiring about how to source the remaining P166 million in funds needed for the affected residents, GMA News Online reached out to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

DBM Undersecretary Goddess Libiran responded that frontline government agencies have been allocated quick response funds and can tap into the available National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (NDRRMF) as per the FY 2023 General Appropriations Act (GAA). However, this would be subject to the completion of damage assessment and recommendation by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), along with approval from the President. The NDRRMF is specifically allocated for providing aid, relief, and rehabilitation services to communities/areas, as well as repair, rehabilitation, and reconstruction works related to natural or human-induced calamities in the current or two preceding years.

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), as of Thursday morning, approximately 17,000 individuals have been evacuated from Bicol Region due to the intensified unrest of Mayon Volcano. A total of 17,216 people or 4,813 families are currently staying in 25 evacuation centers, while 725 individuals or 200 families have sought shelter outside of evacuation centers. The eruption of Mayon Volcano, which is currently under Alert Level 3, has affected 37,682 individuals or 9,167 families in 26 barangays in Albay province. Additionally, 18 schools located in the municipalities of Camalig, Daraga, Guinobatan, and Malilipot have suspended classes as of June 12, according to the Department of Education.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has urged government agencies to use and distribute funds wisely amidst the ongoing situation. He emphasized the importance of studying the provision of allocating funds before distributing them. While he believes that there is a budget for the actual expenses, he did not elaborate on where to obtain the funds. According to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Undersecretary Goddess Libiran, the government still has P18.3 billion in calamity funds, including the P1.5 billion carry-over from last year’s budget that can be used for various disaster relief operations until the end of 2023.

To summarize, the Philippine government has ensured that sufficient funds are available to provide assistance to the families affected by the recent activities of Mayon Volcano. The government has emphasized the importance of distributing the funds judiciously and stressing careful assessment before disbursing financial aid. In addition to the allocated budget, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (NDRRMF) can also provide additional funding for rehabilitation services, aid, relief, repair, and reconstruction works. With the government’s resources and strategies, Filipinos affected by the disaster can hope to receive the necessary support to recover from its aftermath.