LOCAL government executives of Camarines Sur on Monday thanked President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte for ordering budget officials to fast-track the release of additional calamity assistance to Camarines Sur and other provinces devastated by the three successive powerful typhoons.
Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte and Gov. Migz Villafuerte also thanked the President for approving the Bicol river dredging project, which the congressman had proposed to the Chief Executive along with his request to augment the depleted calamity funds of local government units (LGUs) reeling from the four-fold blow by typhoons Quinta, Rolly and Ulysses along with the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.
“The people of Camarines Sur thank our President for visiting Camarines Sur and for approving our request to augment the calamity assistance funds of all LGUs whose outlays have probably been exhausted already because of the three strong typhoons in succession—Quinta, Rolly and Ulysses–along with their COVID-19 response efforts,” Villafuerte said.
The President ordered the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to expedite the release of the additional calamity assistance to typhoon-hit provinces during a situation briefing with local executives led by Villafuerte and son, the governor, and several Cabinet officials in Camarines Sur.
“Our request was approved because of the support of Senator Bong (Christopher Lawrence) Go who always sends whatever assistance he can give to Camarines Sur,” Villafuerte said.
Gov. Villafuerte also thanked the President and Go for the “welcoming news” about the augmentation of the calamity assistance for Camarines Sur, which, according to weather experts, will be among the provinces that will likely be struck by three more typhoons before the yearend.
The President gave the go-signal for the dredging of the heavily silted Bicol River to spare Camarines Sur and its surrounding areas from massive flooding during the typhoon season.
But the President thumbed down a proposal for a committee to oversee the project and said he prefers only one person to lead it to ensure the project’s swift implementation.
Gov. Villafuerte informed the President about a 2013 World Bank study that underscored the importance of dredging the Bicol river, which can be implemented in phases starting next year.
“We would be glad to accommodate you, whatever it is. If the World Bank is doing the project study. Sige kung may pera (go ahead if there’s money),” Mr. Duterte told the Camarines Sur governor.
Villafuerte earlier appealed to the DBM to set aside funds for flood control projects for disaster-prone areas in Bicol, as had been committed by President Duterte himself in the past.