February 19, 2012
SENATOR GUINGONA EYES IMMEDIATE PASSAGE
To intensify the government's disaster preparedness and response, Senator Teofisto "TG" Guingona III is pushing for the immediate passage of Senate Bill No. 2753, otherwise known as the Solidarity Fund Bill, which aims to set up a pooled fund to be shared among local government units (LGUs) when calamities strike.
The proposed measure requires LGUs to contribute point five percent (0.5 percent) of their total revenues to a fund which will be held as a trust account in a government bank. It will be accessible to an LGU in a declared state of calamity whose own quick response fund has already been depleted.
"The bill is like a "paluwagan" system for LGUs. Kapag may nangangailangan at wala na silang pondo, pwede gamitin ang Solidarity Fund. This Fund will be exclusively used for the disaster response and recoveries for local governments, and the payment of catastrophic insurance premiums for public infrastructures. Consistent with the very Filipino spirit of bayanihan, this measure allows LGUs to help each other in times of need, with money that is readily available," Sen. Guingona said.
The Guingona bill seeks to establish a fund that can be used by local government units for disaster response and recovery needs, and payment of catastrophic insurance for the public infrastructure of LGUs.
"After all, local communities are in the frontline when disaster strikes. Their responses and actions, if done correctly and funded sufficiently, can save properties and lives," Sen. Guingona added.
Sen. Guingona, a major advocate for the DRRM law, continues to push for law which mandates a paradigm shift in disaster risk reduction and management. Instead of just focusing on rehabilitation, the reform advocate urges all stakeholders to focus more on preparedness to anticipate the response needed once a calamity strikes.
He asserted that by having a standby fund is one of the measures LGUs can support to prepare for emergencies.
"The government is now gearing towards a paradigm shift in disaster. Instead of focusing on rehabilitation, we are now starting to focus more on preparedness to anticipate the response needed once a calamity strikes in our society," Sen. Guingona said.
Sen. Guingona has partnered with Sen. Koko Pimentel in holding the Mindanao Summit on Disaster Risk Reduction and Geo-Hazard Awareness from February 18-19 where they convened Mindanao leaders and stakeholders in Cagayan de Oro City. The two senators and the Mindanao leaders collectively address the issues of disaster risk reduction and proposed a Mindanao-wide solution.
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