With the damage caused by the heavy rains that hit the north coast of São Paulo in recent days, federal deputy Reginaldo Lopes (PT-MG) said that he is joining forces to vote on the proposal that provides for the creation of a permanent fund to contain disasters. Former leader of the PT bench in 2022, the parliamentarian is the author of Bill (PL) 294/2022, which has been stopped in the Chamber of Deputies since May last year.
The PL creates the so-called National Fund to Support Disaster, Calamity and Emergency Situations (Fundec), which allocates 0.5% of the Union’s annual budget for this purpose. The idea is for the fund to be linked to the Ministry of Integration and Regional Development and also receive resources from other fronts, such as agreements, contracts or agreements made with public, private, national or international entities. The text of the project also provides that income from other sources can also compose the amount.
Lopes said he had spoken with the mayor, Arthur Lira (PP-AL), on Wednesday (22) asking that the proposal be put to a vote as soon as possible. The suggestion given by the petista is that a special commission be created so that the PL can be processed in a single collegiate and then go straight to the plenary or, alternatively, that a working group be created on the subject to improve the text and , then take it to the plenary for appreciation.
The idea is to seek agility in the processing of the measure so that later on the fund can help populations in situations of calamity generated by floods, as has occurred in São Paulo. “I believe that parliament is sensitive to finding a more definitive solution. I believe that, with the election of President Lula, a more federative climate was created, more collaborative and less warlike. This ends up positively influencing deputies and senators. I believe it has a more favorable climate. We are going to discuss with the college of leaders the best way forward”, says Lopes.
From the point of view of content, PL 294 establishes that Fundec funds must be invested in “mitigation, preparation, prevention, recovery, response and restoration actions in support of disaster, calamity and/or emergency situations in the municipalities and states” . The project points out that the measures must be implemented in partnership with the National Secretariat of Civil Defense.
For Lopes, the creation of Fundec would also be a way of not encouraging the use of the Severance Indemnity Fund (FGTS) by workers affected by floods, as has been happening in São Paulo, for example. Faced with the calamity that occurred on the north coast, where 48 people died in recent days, the federal government released FGTS withdrawals for families affected by the rains.
“Perhaps the great role of this fund is to indemnify people because most do not even have FGTS and, for those who do, this is a worker’s savings. It is not fair that the absence of the State, of public policies to prevent the problem, create a context for the citizen himself to pay the bill with his savings. This should be compensation from the Brazilian State, including by default.”
According to data released on Wednesday (22) by the Minister of Integration and Regional Development, Waldez Góes, the federal government managed to map 14,000 points of risk areas vulnerable to flooding and landslides in the country, which concentrate 4 million people. “So, it was providential to resume Minha Casa Minha Vida, the R$ 10 billion released by President Lula and his guidance that proposes to prioritize housing with demands directed at reducing the possibility of people’s housing risk”, he said.
Waldez has also been pinning the Bolsonaro government for having left a budget of just R$25,000 for disaster prevention throughout 2023. According to Reginaldo Lopes, it is this type of problem that PL 294 seeks to drive away: with the creation of a permanent fund, the idea is that assistance to risk areas in emergency situations is no longer dependent on the will or political heritage of governments on duty. According to the text of the project, if the fund already existed, it would have raised about R$ 23 billion last year alone.
“It is fundamental to have a prevention policy (of the problem) and to remove people from risk areas, with a compensation policy, with the construction of new housing because, in fact, the people were marginalized. Part of the people with lower economic power was placed on the sidelines of a housing policy, of popular housing. So, in that sense, I think this fund would be a federative and civilizing achievement. It is absurd in the 21st century to have rain and people lose their lives because of the rains, ”he argues.
With Lopes’ articulations with the president of the Chamber, the rite that the PL will assume in the House, where it was filed in February last year, should be defined next week. The text, however, was paralyzed in May at the Commission for National Integration, Regional Development and the Amazon (Cindra) and was never voted on due to the drop in the pace of the collegiate bodies due to the proximity to the electoral calendar.
The commission awaits the presentation of the opinion of the rapporteur, João Daniel (PT-SE), who defends the approval of the proposal. In conversation with Brazil in Factthe petista argued that it is necessary to consider the seriousness of the problem, potentiated by the lack of planning in the formation of most Brazilian cities.
“The poor of this country went to live in the hills, in (near the) tides, on the slopes and, therefore, in every catastrophe we see the situation of death of the population. That’s the situation. So, we need to have a national fund to seek solutions before the problem occurs or at least, for when it does, instead of running a food campaign, the state has a fund to guarantee a minimum of dignity in the face of people’s suffering.”
In addition to what has happened in São Sebastião (SP), the country has seen floods of great proportions that have affected other states in recent years. At the turn of 2021 to 2022, for example, Bahia was hit hard by torrential rains. The episode destroyed homes, displaced thousands of residents, left at least 58 towns under water and killed at least 18 people.
Petrópolis, a municipality in the mountainous region of Rio de Janeiro, was also the scene of a tragedy last year. In February, the city was flooded by a major storm that left 233 people dead and more than 1,100 homeless. Another catastrophe that appears on the list of the most recent is the one that occurred in Minas Gerais at the end of 2022, when 341 municipalities were in an emergency situation after a large volume of rain that caused the death of 24 people.
Editing: Vivian Virissimo
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