President Benigno Aquino III on Monday placed the whole nation under a state of calamity following the impact of monster typhoon Yolanda in several provinces.
The declaration “will hasten the rescue, recovery, relief, and rehabilitation efforts of the government and the private sector, including any international humanitarian assistance,” Proclamation No. 682 read.
But what does it really mean?
Well, the law defines a state of calamity as “a condition involving mass casualty and/or major damages to property, disruption of means of livelihoods, roads and normal way of life of people in the affected areas as a result of the occurrence of natural or human-induced hazard.”
It must be declared by the President, upon the recommendation of the National Risk Reduction and Management Council, and will remain in effect until lifted.
The declaration allows for the release of calamity funds, a 60-day price freeze on basic goods and the grant of no-interest loans as well as tapping international assistance.
Under a state of calamity, funds may also be appropriate or re-appropriated for the repair and safety upgrading of damaged infrastructures and facilities.
Local governments may also draw from their calamity funds, which are generated from 5 percent of the estimated revenue from regular sources.
They may also enact supplemental budgets to purchase supplies or pay for services needed to “prevent imminent danger to, or loss of, life or property.”
A Malacanang briefer said prior to Yolanda, a state of national calamity was last declared on December 7, 2012 due to the onslaught of typhoon Pablo in several Mindanao areas.
The President also placed the nation under a state of calamity on December 20, 2011 after tropical storm Sendong devastated Cagayan de Oro and nearby provinces.
Local governments in areas hardly hit by Yolanda have earlier declared states of calamity in their constituency due to high death tolls and widespread damage.
Officials from Tacloban City, which is said to have been flattened by storm surge caused by Yolanda, have also declared a state of calamity earlier Monday.