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Romualdez backs NDRRMC call to declare national state of calamity

House Speaker Martin Romualdez on Sunday said he supported the recommendation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) for the country to be placed under a state of calamity due to the onslaught of Severe Tropical Storm Paeng.

In a statement, Romualdez said that the House of Representatives launched a relief drive and operation to aid the national government get needed resources to affected communities.

“Reports reaching my office indicate that almost all regions in the country were affected by the onslaught of STS Paeng, which destroyed bridges, roads and key infrastructure and wrought havoc to life and property,” he said.

The NDRRMC’s Sunday situational report showed that 48 individuals died, while almost a million people were affected due to Paeng.

The storm also caused P54,965,924-worth of agricultural damage in Western Visayas and Soccsksargen, and damaged 714 houses in various regions.

On Saturday, the NDRRMC suggested that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. declare a national state of calamity for a period of one year.

A state of calamity would enable the government to tap additional funds for disaster relief and impose a price freeze on basic commodities.

In response, Marcos said that he would wait and study the resolution to be submitted by the NDRRMC.

Romualdez said he also tasked members of the House to help executive departments and agencies assess the damage caused by Paeng, and assist in relief operations in their respective districts.

“At the moment, our focus is in relief operations to alleviate the suffering of our fellowmen and to deliver aid as soon as possible to those in need,” he said.

“The House of Representatives will also use its power over the purse to see to it that rehabilitation of affected communities will proceed unhampered as soon as the relief stage is completed,” he added.

Romualdez said he also asked House Appropriations panel Chairperson Zaldy Co of the Ako Bicol party-list to compile the damage assessment for possible adjustments in the budget allocation for repair and rehabilitation of affected areas under the proposed 2023 General Appropriations Act. — DVM, GMA News