Lawmakers question OCD over slow release of quick response fund

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 7) — Several lawmakers onThursday questioned the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) over delays in the release of the Quick Response Fund (QRF) for areas affected by calamities.

"Parang nagiging SRF na po — slow response fund. So I'm hoping hindi magiging NRF — or no response fund," Misamis Oriental 1st dist. Representative Christian Unabia commented during the hearing of the House Committee on Appropriations.

[Translation: It seems to have turned into SRF or slow response fund. I'm hoping it doesn't become NRF or no response fund.]

The panel was tackling the budget of the Department of National Defense (DND), which is the mother agency of the OCD.

Unabia pointed out that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. himself promised to help the province of Misamis Oriental after it was devastated by floods last December.

"May video ako maybe I can give it to you for verification sana mapaabot sa presidente kasi nag-commit po siya sa amin, mister secretary," Unabia told Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro.

[Translation: I have a video and maybe I can give it to you for verification, hopefully it reaches the president because he made a commitment to us, mister secretary.]

Samar 1st district representative Stephen Tan also questioned the OCD on the timing of the release of the QRF.

He said frequent typhoons consistently cause damage to the province's main highway.

While the province is coordinating with the Department of Public Works and Highways, Tan said officials are also relying on the OCD's QRF for rehabilitation costs.

"Sa pag-ayos ng national highway hindi namin ma-cope up yung demand especially the weather in Samar dalawa lang, wet at very wet," Tan said.

[Translation: We can't keep up with the demands concerning the repairs of the national highway especially with the weather in Samar which is either wet or very wet.]

The OCD explained to Unabia that the process for the release of the QRF funds usually takes only two weeks.

However, this only covers minor repairs, it also said, adding that funds for major rehabilitation would usually take an average of nine months.

"We're trying to lessen that kung kaya ng four to six months, after the calamity may rapid assessment sa remedyo o minor," OCD administrator Ariel Nepomuceno explained.

"Yung malaki may process called PDNA (post-disaster needs assessment), ito ho medyo tedious po iyan wala sa full control ng OCD or NDRRMC," he also said.

[Translation: We're trying to lessen that, if it can be done in four to six months. After the calamity there is a rapid assessment of the remedy. The bigger ones involve a process called PDNA which is a bit tedious and is not within the control of the OCD or NDRRMC.]

Nepomuceno informed Unabia that as far as the assistance for Oriental Mindoro is concerned, it had already been endorsed for the approval of the president last month.