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Underutilized

The Department of Finance revealed in a report from the Bureau of Treasury that only less than a third of the replenishable P1-billion People’s Survival Fund for climate adaptation projects made available five years ago had been tapped by local governments and community organizations.

The People’s Survival Fund Board, chaired by the Bureau of Treasury, has so far green lit only P310.34 million in projects.  When the fund was announced, there was a flurry of applications from local government units and local community organizations, pitching 172 project proposals worth a total of P14.7 billion.

“However, most of the proposals submitted to the People’s Survival Fund have failed to pass the initial screening due to incomplete documents or because the project activities are not eligible. People’s Survival Fund projects should clearly address the community’s climate vulnerabilities based on scientific and historical data,” the DOF explained.

Republic Act No. 10174 amended the Climate Change Act of 2009 and established the People’s Survival Fund in 2012 but its annual funding was only introduced in the 2015 national budget. Since it remained underutilized, it is yet to be replenished.

The DOF added that the board has already simplified the requirements to encourage more LGUs to access the fund.

In a country where most public officials only know how to build roads and basketball courts, reports of underutilized funds that had noble intentions are not even a surprise. Local officials and community organizations who are aware of these funds and have the ability to craft solutions that can utilize the funds and benefit communities may be a rare breed but surely, we must have people who can find ways and means to make the most of such resources.

Do we have public officials and community organizations that are proactive enough to utilize these resources that are just waiting to be tapped?*

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