Philippines: Gov't tap CDF savings for rehabilitation of areas damaged by "Reming"

Report
from Government of the Philippines
Published on 01 Dec 2006
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo announced today that the government's savings from the Countryside Development Fund (CDF) will be allocated for the rehabilitation of the areas battered by super typhoon "Reming."

The President made the announcement during the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) meeting held this morning at the Department of National Defense Building in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City to assess the damage caused by the typhoon in the Bicol Region and other areas of Luzon.

"With the calamity situation in the country, we will use our savings from the pork barrel," the President, who formally assumed today the Defense portfolio in a concurrent capacity, said.

Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr. said the government has almost P500 million to P1 billion savings from the Countryside Development Fund, also known as "pork barrel."

"Sa ngayon, humahanap tayo ng pondo na magagamit natin kasi napakalaki ng damage ng typhoon (Reming). Naiutos ng Pangulo na itong CDF ay gamitin, since ang objective nito ay development ng mga lugar. We will tap the portions na hindi pa nagagamit," Andaya said in an ambush interview after the NDCC meeting.

He said that initially, the P500 million to P1 billion savings from the CDF would be used for the rehabilitation of areas hit by typhoon "Reming."

He explained that the CDF could be tapped for damages incurred due to typhoons and there is now law that prohibits its use for that purpose.

After the NDCC meeting, the President left Camp Aguinaldo at 1:00 p.m. and proceeded to St. Luke's Medical Center on E. Rodriguez Ave., Quezon City to accompany First Gentleman Atty. Jose Miguel Arroyo "who is undergoing routine medical checkup" in the hospital.

"The President is just accompanying the First Gentleman who is undergoing routine medical procedures as a follow-up to his own checkup last week. PGMA's presence before the Australia-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce tonight should dispel any speculations about her health," Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Gabriel Claudio said in a statement.