MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang is considering using more money from the national budget’s contingency and calamity funds as the nation faces Typhoon Ruby, the strongest to hit the country so far this year.
According to deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, the national government is continually assessing the situation to see if there is a need to add more to the P4.69-billion quick response fund previously made available.
“We’ll know in the coming days…That’s the reason why we have such funds so that we could make them available right away to assist our local governments,” she said.
Valte said that cities and municipalities have learned from the country’s experience with Supertyphoon Yolanda last year. The public is now more prepared and pays more attention to government warnings and instructions.
“Better to err on the side of prudence and on the side of caution. We don’t want our people to be harmed just because they didn’t take the warnings seriously,” she added.
As of Sunday, there were a total of 332,524 people in evacuation centers provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
The DSWD has also prepared 358,380 food packs set to be given to families in typhoon-hit areas. The agency still has P68,366,000 in reserved funds.
Even with better preventive measures and relief preparations, the Palace still insists that the public stays alert and ready.
“Typhoon Ruby is not yet over. Let us not be complacent. Let’s not panic but be alert to avoid accidents,” Valte said.
Catholic Church solidarity appeal
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is also helping raise funds for the victims of Typhoon Ruby through a solidarity appeal to all the diocese across the country for a fund-raising drive.
National Secretariat for Social Action (Nassa)/Caritas Philippines head Caceres Archbishop Rolando Tirona has mailed a request letter to 85 bishops urging them to execute relief operations in their respective dioceses.
“To the unaffected dioceses, we call on you to organize relief operations for the affected dioceses nearest you or you may choose to send your donations to the Alay Kapwa account for the relief operations of the Catholic Church network,” Tirona said in his letter.
Nassa/Caritas Philippines has already prepared P2 million worth of relief goods taken from Alay Kapwa, their evangelization and fundraising program, and from other local funds.
With report from Cyra Moraleda