QUEZON City Rep. Alfred Vargas on Wednesday urged both the House of Representatives and the Senate to consider setting aside funds for the urgent recovery and rehabilitation plan for areas affected by Typhoon Rolly in the proposed 2021 national budget.
Typhoon Rolly, which was identified as the world’s strongest storm this year, left almost 100,000 homes destroyed and caused over P11 billion in damage to infrastructure.
Damage to agriculture, meanwhile, reached over P2.9 billion, affecting 65,897 hectares of land.
“With the country experiencing La Niña until March next year, we must use the budget as an instrument for the recovery and rehabilitation of areas that have been devastated by Super Typhoon Rolly,” Vargas said.
Vargas said the recovery and rehabilitation plan, a mini-Marshall Plan for the affected areas, would address housing, agriculture, employment and other needs. This is to help the affected areas and residents in Batangas, Quezon and Bicol get back on their feet and rebuild lives and economies.
“This initiative is in support of President Duterte’s call for an all-out government push to aid our fellow Filipinos who have been displaced by the super typhoon,” he said.
He added that the country cannot risk continually lurching as it begins its recovery from the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic.
“If we do not prop up our physical and social structures, magiging stop-start ang recovery natin. Uusad, pero mapipilitang umatras dahil sa panibagong unos,” the lawmaker said.
The solon emphasized the need to implement long-term rather than short-term strategies in addressing not only the needs of the typhoon-affected areas but the effects of climate change.
Vargas said the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience could help ensure that the country’s climate-proofing is done under a single banner.
He is one of the authors of the House Bill (HB) No. 8165 or the Department of Disaster Resilience Act, which the House of Representatives already approved on third and final reading in 2018.
He called on the Senate to pass the counterpart measure for the proposed department, which would be responsible for overseeing and coordinating the preparation, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of disaster and climate change resilience plans and programs.