NGOs: Unspent disaster funds – callous, immoral

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Consortium for People's Development – Disaster Response
Press Release
November 5, 2015
A consortium of non-government organizations branded the failure of government agencies to spend funds for disaster victims and to implement the much-need housing project as callous and immoral.
The Consortium for People's Development-Disaster Response (CPD-DR) is referring to the P385-million donation intended for disaster victims, which remains unspent by the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), and the below-target housing units built by the National Housing Authority (NHA).
According to a report by the Commission on Audit (COA), the unspent funds include P137 million for victims of typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan). Thirteen months after the disaster, the OCD has not released P98 million, according to COA.
Suyin Jamoralin, Chairperson of the CPD-DR, said, “What makes it worse is that it appears that the OCD is earning interest from this irregularity.”
The COA noted that the unspent funds have been deposited in a trust account with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) where it has earned P1.7 million in interest.
Jamoralin found it shocking that the unreleased calamity funds should have been released to the victims of several other disasters, as far back as typhoon Frank in June 2008, typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng in 2009, among others.
The CPD-DR said the OCD’s explanation for the unspent funds is “such a lame excuse.” The OCD said it is limited by the rules in releasing funds to claimants who cannot comply with the requirements.
“Is the OCD expecting the disaster victims to be able to save their documents from the disasters?” Jamoralin asked.
Furthermore, the CPD-DR lambasted the NHA for building 16,544 housing units since Yolanda struck, way below the 205,128 housing units targeted by the agency.
According to NHA records, more than 200,000 families are still living in “High Risk Zones” nearly two years after Yolanda.
The CPD-DR is a newly formed network of NGOs dedicated in providing direct relief and rehabilitation to disaster victims. It is composed of Citizen’s Disaster Response Center (CDRC), Management Advancement Systems Association Inc. (MASAI), Working for Empowerment and Good Governance Institute, Inc. (WeGovern Institute) and IBON International. #
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