By: Gerome Dalipe
THE Iloilo Provincial Government prepares its disaster risk plans about two years prior to the deliberations of the annual budget.
But several factors affect the full implementation of its management financial and investment plans, said Jerry Bionat, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction, and Management Council (PDRRMC) executive director.
Among the major factors Bionat cited is the rigorous bidding process during calamity and even failure of bidding, said Bionat.
“You cannot pass the budget unless there is an Annual Investment Program. That is mandatory, so you really need to comply” said Bionat.
Bionat was reacting to the annual audit report of the Commission on Audit (COA), which called out the Provincial Government for its failure to implement about P151.35-million in capital outlay for enhancing disaster preparedness and response capabilities “at all levels” in 2018.
This, after the Capitol reportedly failed to prepare its 2018 Provincial Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Financial and Investment Plan.
Such lack of preparation for the management financial and investment plan resulted in low rate of mitigation and fund utilization, the state auditors noted.
The Capitol failed to implement the continuing capital outlay totaling P151,359,305.40, and non-programming of Special Trust Fund totaling P285, 319,232.03, state auditors noted.
This limited the Capitol’s proposed projects and activities that would help build disaster resilient communities and enhanced disaster preparedness and response capabilities.
In the report, the auditors recommended to the governor to direct the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) to prepare the management financial and investment plan.
This is to ensure that the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund including prior years’ balances are programmed for priority and responsive disaster risk reductions and optimize the management investment plan implementation.
In an interview, Bionat denied audit observations that Capitol’s disaster and management plans were not submitted on time.
In fact, he said they are submitting the disaster risk plans two years ahead of every fiscal year and prior to its budget approval.
Bionat blamed the rigorous bidding procedure as the mayor hindrance to the implementation of their annual disaster plan.
He said that regular bidding process could even take three to five months before it could be materialized.
Bionat also proposed amendments to Republic Act No. 10121, or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Act of 2010.
He said they submitted a resolution asking the Senate and Congress to pass and include at least 10 provisions relative to the implementation of RA 10121 .
The level disaster-plan implementations are based on four schematic areas: disaster prevention and mitigation; disaster preparedness; disaster response; and disaster rehabilitation and recovery.
It also includes proper utilization of the local disaster risk fund, particularly on the construction of National DRRM offices, procurement of equipment, supplies, and other supplies.
Among the proposed revisions to RA 10121 are the mandatory creation of Local DRRM offices and the appointment of its officers and staff.
They also must have a mandatory construction or improvement on the structures and facilities of identified local evacuation centers.
It should also have a proper utilization of the local DRRM fund, particularly on the construction of DRRM offices, procurement of DRRM equipment, and supplies.
The mandatory education programs for the disaster vulnerable community members through seminars, workshops, training, drills, and simulations are also being pushed.
Likewise, the provincial disaster’s office wants formulation of communication systems on warning, response operation and reporting system, among others.