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DSWD has over P83B unused funds — solon

Alfred Vargas
Alfred Vargas

A Metro Manila solon is urging the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to spend its unused funds that will be expiring starting 2021.

Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas said the unspent amount is over P83 billion that can be used for the victims of typhoons.

Vargas, a vice chairman of the House committee on appropriations, said the DSWD should work overtime to help Filipinos affected by the succession of typhoons which hit the country in recent weeks.

“The DSWD should go all out and spend up to the very last cent of its funds to ease the poor’s suffering, especially as this challenging year draws to a close. Dapat maramdaman ng ating mga kababayang nasalanta ng kalamidad ang kalinga at malasakit ng pamahalaan,” he said.

Vargas said DSWD’s assistance will go a long way to help Filipinos who lost their homes and livelihood due to Typhoons Quinta, Rolly and Ulysses in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“DSWD cannot let its unused funds simply expire at a time when many Filipinos need help. It should work double time to extend assistance to typhoon victims so they can start anew,” he added.

It was revealed during the Senate’s plenary debates on the proposed 2021 national budget this week that DSWD has P75 billion of unused funds from its 2020 appropriation. P1.5 billion of the agency’s 2019 budget also remains unused, apart from the P6.7 billion in unobligated funds from the two “Bayanihan” laws passed by Congress to address the COVID-19 crisis.

Data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) showed that around 835,399 families or over 3.5 million people in Luzon were affected by Typhoon Ulysses alone.

The Department of Agriculture, meanwhile, said the three typhoons which hit the country between October and early November caused P10 billion worth of damage to agriculture.