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Friday, October 31, 2014

PNoy Finally Signs Php 167.9 Billion Super Typhoon Yolanda Rehab Master Plan

Almost a year after super-typhoon Yolanda left a wide swath of death and destruction in the country, President Aquino has finally approved the P167.9-billion rehabilitation master plan for storm-hit communities.
The Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP) aims to “build back better” the resettlement, infrastructure, livelihood, and social services in 171 cities and municipalities ravaged by the powerful typhoon, according to Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.
“Upon the recommendation of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR) and the favorable endorsement of the National Economic and Development Authority, the President approved yesterday, October 29. 2014, the 8,000-page Yolanda Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan, which outlines the National Government’s commitment to implement over 25,000 rehabilitation and recovery specific plans and programs and activities (PPAs),” Coloma said.
“According to PARR Secretary Panfilo Lacson, these PPAs are envisioned to bring forth the recovery of the 171 affected cities and municipalities in 14 provinces and six regions (collectively known as the ‘Yolanda corridor’) based on the principle of ‘build-back-better’ by focusing on long-term, sustainable efforts to reduce vulnerabilities and strengthen capacities of communities to cope with future hazard events,” he added.
Under the post-Yolanda rehabilitation plan, the resettlement projects for the Yolanda victims will take the biggest slice of the proposed budget at P75.67 billion. Coloma said the government aims to restore settlements and basic community facilities and services that are more resilient to hazard events.
Infrastructure development will require P35.14 billion in order to sustain economic and social activities in the affected areas, according Coloma. At least P30.6 billion will be set aside for livelihood and continuity of economic activities and business while P26.40 billion for social services in the disaster-hit communities.
Since November, 2013, Coloma said, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has already released a P51.98 billion from the national budget for the rehabilitation plan in the Yolanda corridor.
The post-Yolanda rehabilitation blueprint was submitted by Lacson to the President last August. The plan was not immediately approved since Aquino wanted clear timetables for rehabilitation projects. 

Last week, the President admitted he was not content with the pace of the rehabilitation efforts in Yolanda-damaged places, describing some delays as absurd.
“I am never satisfied,” the President said at a media forum in Ortigas last week, when asked if he was pleased with the rebuilding efforts in Yolanda-affected places. “I want to deliver everything that has to be delivered weekly as quick as possible,” Aquino added.
“Sometimes it gets to me, medyo absurd. For instance, one year later, why is the runway in Tacloban not yet ready? And the quick answer is: there is a lack of asphalt, you have to bring it in. And then also, initially, parang yong aggregates…  it turns out Leyte has the aggregates,” the President said.
Aquino said the housing project of the families displaced by the typhoon has been hindered by the lack of safe relocation sites. “On houses, we might have the funds, we might have the materials already; then we don’t have the land. Then when you were given land, it’s land nobody wants,” he said. The land must be certified safe for settlement for communities, he added..
He said the rehabilitation efforts must also coexist with the need to keep the typhoon victims fed, free from disease, and sheltered.
“So am I satisfied? No. I wish everything that has to be done were done after one year, but that is might be an impossibility,” he said.
Aquino said he hopes the “build back better” rehabilitation plan, a multi-year effort, will be “substantially accomplished by the time I step down.”
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