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Interior Secretary Eduardo Año’s call for the public to donate to Taal evacuees draws flak from netizens

“Unang tragedy sa 2020 ubos na pera ninanakaw niyo?”

Reports that Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año is asking the public for in-kind donations like food, clothing, water, and other materials for Taal evacuees has outraged many Filipinos.

In a statement released on Monday, Año urged the public to donate clean drinking water, food, emergency medicines and other basic essentials such as tents, mats, blankets, water containers and cooking pots for the use of those staying in evacuation centers.

He said the donations may be coursed through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or directly to the local government units.

However, netizens were quick to react negatively to Año’s call.

Here are some of the netizens’ reactions:

“DILG, nagpa call for donations?? Student org ka ghOrL??!?!?”

“Now tell me worth it ba ang 50 million cauldron at pa-fireworks? Sa mga nagsabing yes noon at sa mga magsasabing yes ngayon… INHALE. THAT. ASH,” referring to the controversial cauldron used at the recent South East Asian Games.

“Año, dun ka humingi sa intelligence fund at budget ng OP (Office of the President).”

“Ang laki ng budget ng Office of the President bakit hindi dun kumuha panggastos para naman magamit sa mga tunay na nangangailangan.”

“You know you are screwed when the gov’t can not provide basic essentials despite their huge budget.”

“Why is Año asking for donations first without mentioning using the calamity fund first? I get that the public should help but where is the calamity fund?”

“Unang tragedy sa 2020 ubos na pera ninanakaw niyo?”

The Duterte administration slashed around P4-billion from the country’s disaster funds under the P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020.

It allocated just P16 billion from P20 billion in 2019.

The Department of Education (DepEd), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the DILG, and the Department of National Defense received the biggest allocations in the 2020 budget.

The education sector got P654.77 billion.

It is followed by DPWH, the infrastructure arm of the government, with P580.88 billion.

DILG’s budget stands at P239.64 billion, more than three-fourths of which or about P187.33 billion will go to the Philippine National Police.

The budget for national defense is pegged at P191.74 billion.

The office of President Rodrigo Duterte, on the other hand, has increased its budget for 2020 to P8.2 billion, equally divided between confidential and intelligence funds.

The amount was around P1.5-billion higher than the P6.7-billion last year.

Given their nature, confidential and intelligence funds are difficult to audit.

This was not the first time that the Duterte administration cut the budget on calamity fund, now called national disaster risk reduction and management fund.

It made its biggest cut of the country’s calamity fund, more than half, in 2017.

The President only allocated P15.7 billion, which is a P23-billion decrease from P38.9-billion in 2016 under the Aquino administration.

At the same time, Duterte increased the Office of the President budget for 2017 to P20.2 billion.

The amount was around P17-billion more than the P2.87 billion from 2016.

Recently, the Duterte administration was also accused of alleged corruption and massive overspending because of the 50-million pesos (nearly $1 million) cauldron used for the ceremonial lighting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) torch last year.

Filipino taxpayers questioned its P50-million price tag, saying it represents extravagance and overspending in a country, where about 17 percent of the over 100 million population does not earn enough to cover their basic needs.

Taal Volcano in Batangas erupted last Sunday, spewing hazardous volcanic ash on its surrounding provinces, as well as in Metro Manila and Central Luzon.

The volcano remained under Alert Level 4, which means a hazardous eruption is “imminent” or may occur “within days to hours.”

On Monday, Batangas was placed under a state of calamity.

The number of evacuees rose to more than 24,000.

Written by Angelle De Leon

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