LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — Senator Aquilino Pimentel III on Friday bared here his pending bill which seeks to allocate bigger budget for disaster management for the national and local governments.
Calling this as “bigger pie, bigger size” bill, Pimentel said the measure proposes that disaster management fund of the national and local governments be sourced out from national taxes and not only from the internal revenue allotment (IRA) which presently is being adopted.
Speaking at the 10th Disaster Risk Reduction and Multi-Hazard Awareness Forum at the Pangasinan Training and Development Center here, Pimentel said with the share in the national tax (SNT) instead of the IRA, the fund for disaster management will be bigger.
The bill also proposes that instead of the present IRA sharing of 60 percent for the national and 40 percent for local government, both will get 50 percent from SNT.
“With the SNT, we will have the existing collection from the Bureau of Internal Revenue with the IRA, plus the collection from the Bureau of Customs,” he added.
“The bill is one measure towards further strengthening and increasing the degree of autonomy of local governments,” Pimentel added.
Meanwhile, Pimentel urged the public to encourage the youth to pursue science courses such as meteorology.
This, he said, is to assure that government agencies related to disaster forecasting particularly the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, will have no vacuum of efficient weather forecasters, citing the recent brain drain of PAGASA forecasters enticed by bigger pay abroad.
At the same time, he said that the PAGASA modernization bill has been filed in the Senate, which if approved, will improve the technical capability of the agency.
The forum was organized by the Office of Sen. Pimentel in cooperation with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, Pinagbuklod na Diwa ng Pangkabuhayan Foundation, Inc., and Office of the Provincial Governor of Pangasinan.
Lectures in the forum centered on Department of Science and Technology’s “Project Noah”; the basics on the search and rescue operations by the Philippine Air Force; first aid in times of calamities by the Philippine Red Cross; fire protection by the Bureau of Fire Protection; and psychological aid after calamities by the National Center for Mental Health.
Pimentel vowed that his office will bring the forum to other provinces, echoing that useful information “is never a waste”.