I’m opposed to the declaration of the state of calamity lasting for one whole year for the following reasons: First, should the state of calamity last for a year, it would be extremely counterproductive. The calamity fund of every local government unit shall be open for appropriation. That amounts to about P13.3 billion. That would allow the local government unit to get 5% of its total expected revenues. The longer the state of calamity extends, the more abuses can be expected.
My proposal is to limit the declaration of the state of calamity to just three months. It is necessary that the flood victims should get on with their lives. If we are going to spread out the release and use of the calamity fund to one whole year, there will always be an unrealized expectation of a return to normalcy. The faster you lift the state of calamity, the better for the funds.
Another consequence of the declaration of the state of calamity is that the President will have power to transfer appropriations. Normally, this is not allowed, but when there is a state of calamity, she can juggle the funds. There will be extreme pressure from many vested interests to transfer appropriations, but not necessarily to the most calamity-stricken areas. In my view, it makes the President even more politically vulnerable to politicians.
The final adverse consequence is that under the Government Procurement Reform Act, if there is a state of calamity, there does not have to be a process of bidding or auction. Negotiated purchases will be allowed. You know that is a very fertile source of corruption.
For these reasons, I humbly suggest that the state of calamity should be limited to three months or not later than the end of the year. One year would just be too long.