After Ondoy and Pepeng, Now Comes the Hard Part

The challenge that policy makers now face is how to raise the needed resources to fund in a sustainable manner and without placing additional burden on Filipinos the requirements of relief and rehabilitation.


MANILA — As hundreds of thousands still remain in evacuation centers and tens of thousands more in danger of being displaced from flooding caused by a series of typhoons that hit Metro Manila and Luzon provinces in the past two weeks, questions on how to comprehensively deal with the social and economic impact of the calamity have remained largely unaddressed.

The biggest concern is funding, with the amount needed to respond to the immediate needs of flood victims and the costlier rehabilitation of affected areas rising by the day. Latest reports from the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) placed the damage caused by tropical storm Ondoy at P8.33 billion (as of October 5), while Pepeng’s damage is pegged at P1.96 billion (as of October 9). Initial estimates (as of October 7) from the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) claimed that the macroeconomic impact of the two typhoons is about 0.2% of the gross domestic product (GDP).

But the costs are actually much higher considering that landslides and flooding triggered by Pepeng continue to wreak havoc in the Cordillera region plus the still unquantified short- and medium-term effects of losses in jobs and livelihood due to the typhoons. Note that official unemployment before the storms ravaged the country was pegged at 7.6% nationwide (National Statistics Office’s July 2009 Labor Force Survey), with the top three highest regional unemployment posted by the National Capital Region (12.1%); Calabarzon (11.1%); and Central Luzon (9.9%) – the regions most affected by Ondoy. Alas, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) could only offer a 15-day employment, particularly in clearing and de-clogging operations and reconstruction efforts, for 1,450 typhoon-displaced workers in these regions

The challenge that policy makers now face is how to raise the needed resources to fund in a sustainable manner and without placing additional burden on Filipinos the requirements of relief and rehabilitation. Unfortunately, recent statements from Malacañang and Congress echo the same flawed fiscal policies that have been saddling the people long before Ondoy and Pepeng hit the country.

Fund Raising

Aside from the aggressive initiatives of civil society including the mass media to generate resources for the flood victims, the Arroyo administration has also asked for emergency assistance from the international community. As of October 3, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said that total foreign aid for Ondoy victims was pegged at P566 million channeled through official agencies such as the NDCC, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC).

In addition, the United Nations (UN) also issued a flash appeal last October 7 for $74.02 million in aid to meet the urgent needs of one million of Ondoy’s victims on top of a $7-million UN assistance for the country that the multilateral body already approved.

The need to tap foreign aid was further underscored by reports that the Arroyo administration’s P1-billion 2010 calamity fund has already dwindled to about P27 million when Ondoy struck the country. Faced with a practically zero calamity fund, Congress said it would approve before its break next week a P10-billion supplemental budget to help provide relief for flood victims. According to senators, the supplemental budget will cover P7 billion for Ondoy victims and P3 billion for those affected by typhoon Frank that hit Panay last year. However, with the damage wrought by Pepeng in northern Philippines , the amount may not be enough to cover the costs.

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4 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. Para namang iniabot kay GMA ang pera. Siempre binibigay yaan directly sa different agencies like DSWD,NDCC and PNRC.

    Si Penoy puro daldal, wang wang lang ang nagawa.

    He'll say something you guys want to hear, puro palpak naman.

  2. The destructive ambitions of Gloria are frightening. She's just too crunk with power. Recall her SONA speech boasting that typhoons & other related calamities will not be a problem cuz according to her, the Phils is ready to handle it. Baloney, none of that beautiful speech helped anybody. she could not deliver when the time caame. I agree that we got hit with two supe typhoons worst than the Katrina hurricane, the least that our govt could have done was give ample or advance warning & told filipinos to prepare for it. Most of the emergency equipments & other vital logistics was not used. Now hope is all gone for the missing. Families are now torn apart. As Gloria pasiklab puts it in her SONA speech..don't worry, be happy. Same old s..t.

  3. A report stated that hte very agencies responsible to give relief & assistance to those affected by these super typhoons have virtually no funds left in their budgets. Gloria could not show us the money. Where did it all go? Billions have been spent on her never-ending foreign tours & now that we have to pump & inject P16 billion suddenly became a big problem. Gloria lacks transparency on all money matters. The repair & rehab of those affected masa is dismal & slow. It's ultimately a question of realistic policies & plain common sense. Gloria clearly showed that she could not do both. Stealing the donated money will not help anybody. Keep her away.

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