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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

28 July 2022 01:49:23 PM

THE House of Representatives will support the allocation of funds in the national budget for the rehabilitation and restoration of public infrastructure in provinces affected by the magnitude 7 earthquake in Northern Luzon, Speaker Martin G. Romualdez said Thursday.

Romualdez made the remarks as he joined President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., Sen. Imee Marcos, and other top government officials in visiting earthquake victims and communities damaged by the tremor in Abra to check on their situation.

It was Sen. Marcos, the President’s sister, who floated the idea of allocating restoration funds and creating an agency under the Office of the President that would allow the prompt mobilization of funds and resources to calamity-stricken areas.

“Mr. President, on the part of the House, we shall support the good senator’s proposal here owing to the fact that we've always been looking for best practices, and FEMA or even the AFAD in Turkey are great models for best practices for these protocols,” Romualdez said.

The Speaker was referring to the Federal Emergency Management Authority of the United States and its Turkish counterpart.

“We shall also join the good senator from Ilocos Norte on her call to support the budgetary requirements. For the restoration of the heritage and cultural sites as well…as the various infrastructures in the situation report,” he said.

Romualdez said this would be done in coordination with the representatives and local officials of the affected provinces.

He also appealed for help for the earthquake victims.

The Speaker turned over to Rep. Ching Bernos his personal assistance to affected residents.

The Speaker said the government and the private sector should join hands in helping the victims and rehabilitating communities that suffered damage.

“The government is here, we are here to help,” he said.

He said the presence of President Marcos and government officials in the earthquake-devastated communities eases the people’s anguish.

The Speaker prodded state agencies, especially those allocated disaster-related quick response funds in the national budget, to come to the immediate assistance of the victims.

He said these offices should swiftly mobilize available funds to distribute relief goods, farm inputs like seeds and fertilizer, provide financial assistance, undertake road repairs, or fix damaged school buildings, health centers, and other public infrastructure.

The agencies could also use other funds in their budgets allocated for these purposes, he added.

Romualdez also urged his colleagues in the affected provinces to do their own damage assessment in preparation for the next budget hearings.(END)