President Benigno S. Aquino III leads his official family in prayer before presiding over the meeting on Yolanda rehabilitation updates at the Aguinaldo State Dining Room of the Malacañan Palace on Friday (May 16, 2014). (MNS photo)

President Benigno S. Aquino III leads his official family in prayer before presiding over the meeting on Yolanda rehabilitation updates at the Aguinaldo State Dining Room of the Malacañan Palace on Friday (May 16, 2014). (MNS photo)

MANILA  (Mabuhay) — Budget Secretary Butch Abad has hit back at critics who say the government was too slow in releasing funds for rehabilitation efforts in areas hit by Typhoon Yolanda (International name Haiyan).

Abad said it took time for local officials to put together their rehabilitation proposals after their communities were struck by what was described as the strongest typhoon to hit earth.

He added that as of June 30 this year, the government has released close to P 90 billion for rehabilitation efforts and the bulk of the money went to housing for survivors.

“The Yolanda reconstruction and rehabilitation program was approved in October 2014… The budget had already been put together then cause we normally submit the budget in July… The president didn’t want to approve just a general statement of ‘I need a road’, you have to be very specific,” said Abad.

He also pointed out that the Aquino administration needed to be complimented for the way it funded rehabilitation efforts in the wake of Typhoon Yolanda.

He said that aside from the P23 billion in supplemental budget given by Congress, government sourced funds from savings and P20 billion in dividends from government owned and controlled corporations. (MNS)