Gatchalian: P10-B supplemental budget needed to aid Taal victims

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MANILA, Philippines — Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said that Congress can pass a supplemental budget amounting to P10 billion in order to augment the funds needed to help the people affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano.

Gatchalian said the government now has P27 billion calamity fund — P16 billion for 2020 and P11 billion carried over from 2019 — but if it will not be enough, the Senate and House of Representatives can reallocate as much as P10 billion for the purpose.

Gatchalian  said analysts had earlier stated the country could lose as much as P35 billion due to the Taal Volcano eruption.

“Tinatayang P35 billion ang damages, initial estimate pero tumataas pa ito. So makikita natin na malaki ang kulang pagdating sa calamity fund at dun sa estimated damages. Dito papasok ang Kongreso para magkaroon ng supplemental budget at magreallocate tayo ng pondo para doon sa kulang pa pagdating sa rehabilitation, ‘yun na ang next phase,” he said during Kapihan sa Senado.

“Definitely hindi bababa ng P10 billion [ang kakailanganin], but depende kung ano pa ang findings later on. Itong P35 billion is more on infrastructure pa lang, ‘ yung sa livelihood hindi pa lumalabas. Importante na malaman natin muna ‘yung complete picture pero nakikita ko na kailangan na ng supplemental budget,” he added.

The Department of Agriculture (DA)  said the damage to agriculture caused by the eruption of the Taal Volcano has now reached P577.39 million.

The  DA  said an estimated 2,772 hectares have been affected, covering commodities such as rice, corn, coffee, cacao, banana, and high-value crops and 1,967 animal heads.

The provinces of Batangas and Cavite have been placed under state of calamity because of the eruption.

Alert Level 4 is still in effect over the volcano which means a hazardous eruption is imminent. (Stacy Ang/IAMIGO/Currentph.com)

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