Minority Leader Ralph Recto seeks assistance from the government to those thousands of families whose houses were gutted down by fire.
Recto urged Malacañang to provide Calamity Fund assistance to homeless families in fire-razed communities in Metro Manila.
“When an entire community is burned to the ground, then it should qualify for national assistance,” Recto said, adding that unlike in other calamities which “leave something to rebuild on, a fire destroys everything.”
Recto made the appeal after two recent fires hit Metro Manila.
An eight-hour blaze gutted several blocks in Addition Hills, Mandaluyong City, and left about 1,400 families homeless last Nov. 13, the fifth to hit that densely-populated barangay this year.
In Las Piñas City, homes of 2,000 families in Barangay Talon 2 went up in smoke before dawn last Nov. 3.
“Mabuti pa bagyo, kadalasan bubong lang ang natatangay. Sa sunog, pati pundasyon, pati septic tank, naaabo,” Recto said.
Assisting the victims, Recto said, requires resources beyond the capacity of the city governments to provide.
“Kung nawala ang mga bahay sa bagyo, siguro nagkandarapa na ang buong national government na tumulong, meron pang televised command conference ang NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council). Kaya lang, kapag sunog tila wala sa radar,” Recto said.
In extending financial aid to fire-razed communities, Recto said “funding is not a problem based on the current status of National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (NDRRMF), which has billions left in it.”
The authority to grant assistance is also there because large-scale fire falls under “catastrophes” which, under the special provisions on its use, the NDRRMF can be applied to.
“If the gutted community needs to be relocated, especially if the victims are informal dwellers, the NDRRMF will be a big help in in-city rebuilding, or near-city relocation, Recto said.
As of end of August, only P6.9 billion out of the P44 billion gross Calamity Fund for 2016 had been spent, leaving a balance of P37 billion.