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(4 May 2020)

The annual National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (NDRRMF) also known as calamity fund was established for the purpose of supporting disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) activities focused on prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery and rehabilitation. These include training of personnel, improvement construction of evacuation centers, reconstruction or rehabilitation of infrastructure, aid and relief services, including pre-disaster activities connected to the occurrence of disasters (natural or man-made), epidemics, other crises resulting from armed conflicts, terrorism and other catastrophes in the current year or two (2) preceding years.

The National DRRM Fund has been utilized and is still being used for DRRM and the emergencies that the country has faced including COVID-19.

The 2020 National DRRM Fund’s total allocation was originally PHP 16B wherein PHP3.5B of it was allotted for the Marawi Recovery, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program or MRRRP while PHP5B was allotted for the Comprehensive Aide to Repair Earthquake Damage or CARED for Regions XI and XII and PHP7.5B served as the Regular NDRRM Fund.

Due to the pandemic, the Regular DRRM Fund which is used to support the rehabilitation and recovery projects, response activities, and disaster prevention and mitigation for 2020 was deemed insufficient since government agencies required augmentation of their quick response funds to support their COVID-19 operations alongside their usual DRRM tasks. This prompted the NDRRMC to seek augmentation funding which was approved for a total of PHP 6.7B. This brought the 2020 National DRRM Fund to a total of PHP 22,794,795,698.

To date, the Office of the President has already approved requests and project proposals under the 2020 National DRRM Fund totaling to PHP 19,799,556,479.31. Other proposals and requests, amounting to PHP 2.9B are in line for processing and approval.

The projects and activities supported by the 2020 National DRRM Fund include reconstruction, rehabilitation and repair of various infrastructure and vital facilities damaged by disasters in various localities in 2018, 2019 and 2020, financial assistance for Local Government Units affected by Typhoons Quinta, Rolly and Ulysses, as well as the operations for COVID-19 Response in 2020 in the form of augmentation to the Quick Response Funds of attending agencies. PHP 9.4B or 68% of the approved items under the Regular NDRRM Fund was utilized for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the 2021 NDRRM Fund had a total allocation of PHP 20B. This is allotted for the continuing support to the MRRRP (PHP 5B), the Insurance Fund (PHP 2B) and the Regular NDRRM Fund (PHP 13B).

Out of the PHP20B NDRRM Fund for 2021, more than PHP 3.5B worth of projects and requests had already been approved by the President for the Marawi rehabilitation effort, the repair and rehabilitation of disaster-damaged infrastructures and facilities and for the continuing support to agencies attending to COVID-19 response as well as other disaster response activities in 2021. With PHP 4.4B worth of requests and projects in process for approval, a total of PHP 11,953,775,152.36 is still available for use in 2021 (Regular DRRM Fund: PHP 6.5B, Insurance: PHP 2B and MRRP: PHP 3.4B)

With regard to the PHP 2B allotment for disaster insurance, the fund remains intact pending the issuance of the guidelines for its usage through a joint memorandum circular from the Department of Budget and Management, Department of Finance and the Government Service Insurance System. The country is already adopting a disaster risk financing strategy through a risk transfer mechanism, i.e. insurance. The PHP 2B will be used to pay insurance premiums of government assets against natural hazards, man-made calamities, epidemics and catastrophes.

Relatedly, the evaluation of damages and rehabilitation requirements of areas ravaged by Typhoons Quinta, Rolly and Ulysses (TYs QRU) in 2020 had been completed, with Total Needs computed to PHP 240B. PHP 35B of which had been identified as to be charged to the National DRRM Fund.

However, the rehabilitation program is not yet ready to be funded since relevant implementing agencies are still in the process of formulating the project proposals for the rehabilitation activities. It can be expected that portions of the 2021 National DRRM Fund (regular fund) may be used for this purpose with appropriate prioritization if project proposals will be completed and approved within the year. Also, the rehabilitation effort for the damages of TYs QRU can still be supported by the National DRRM Fund for FY 2022 and 2023.

The NDRRMC also explained that 2021 National DRRM Fund cannot be depleted before midyear 2021 in preparation for the emergencies during the rainy season.