Senator Bam Aquino is pushing for the creation of a P15-billion rehabilitation fund to help Visayan provinces and several parts of Mindanao recover from the devastation brought by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Central Visayas on Monday.
“This rehabilitation fund will cover all bases in rehabilitation to help provinces such as Bohol and Cebu to fully recover from the devastating and crippling effect of this calamity,” said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship.
The senator said that the bulk of the fund will be used to rehabilitate old churches and other tourism sites in Bohol, a province which thrives on tourism for its world-renowned spots such as the Chocolate Hills in Carmen and the centuries-old colonial churches in Loboc, Baclayon, and Dauis.
The fund will also be utilized to rehabilitate establishments and other infrastructure destroyed by the tremor in the province of Cebu, considered as the region’s center of business and trade.
Aquino added that parts of the fund will be channeled to other places that were affected by the earthquake, including Siquijor and other towns in Mindanao.
“With the help of this fund, provinces affected by the earthquake will be able to get back on their feet and return to their normal lives in no time,” Aquino stressed.
The young senator said the rehabilitation fund will be included in next year’s General Appropriations Act, which has yet to be approved by Congress.
If approved, this is not the first time that a special fund will be included in the national budget for the rehabilitation of provinces destroyed by natural calamities.
In 2007, then-senator Joker Arroyo moved for the inclusion of a P10-billion fund in the national budget under the Calamity Assistance and Rehabilitation Effort (Care) to victims of typhoons “Milenyo,” “Reming”, and “Seniang” that hit the country in late 2006.
Photo from Robert Michael Poole via Twitter, sourced from GMANetwork.com