The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council of Negros Oriental approved a budget of P80 million as its disaster risk reduction and management fund for 2015.

The PDDRM council adopted the P80-million budget that represents five percent of the province’s executive annual budget of around P1.6 billion in 2015, PDRRMC executive officer Adrian Sedillo said during a meeting Wednesday.

The DRRM fund, formerly known as the five percent calamity fund of a local government unit, covers four areas for allocation – mitigation and prevention, preparedness, response and rehabilitation.

On mitigation and prevention, part of the DRRM fund shall be used for climate change and environmental protection programs, among others. Sedillo cited the P1 million footbridge in Sitio Payao-payaoan, Barangay Nagbinlod in Sta. Catalina town, that was requested by the 79th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.

That footbridge serves a dual purpose – it allows students easy access to their schools and provides soldiers with faster mobility in the implementation of the government’s Internal Peace and Security Plan.

Disaster preparedness includes the conduct of trainings and seminars, and purchase of heavy equipment and rescue paraphernalia.

Meanwhile, 30 percent of the P80 million DRRM fund, called the Quick Response Fund, is mandated for response activities during actual disaster operations. These include the provision of food and temporary shelter to disaster victims, and transfer of funds to other LGUs that are under a state of calamity, he said.

On rehabilitation, the DRRM fund sets aside a budget for the repair and restoration of basic infrastructures, such as roads, foot bridges and dikes. This year, the provincial government calendared P4 million, and the same amount is set aside for a similar purpose for next year, he added.*JFP