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Philippines finalising $2.37-B 'Yolanda' rehab masterplan

Publication Date : 24-04-2014


Philippine rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson intends to finish by end-June this year a 106-

billion-peso US$2.37 billion) comprehensive masterplan to rebuild the Visayan cities and towns devastated by Supertyphoon “Yolanda”  (Haiyan) and to implement at least 85 per cent of the plan before President Aquino steps down in 2016.

Speaking to business reporters Tuesday night, Lacson said the masterplan would consolidate programmes set by implementing agencies as divided into five crucial clusters—infrastructure, livelihood, resettlement, support and social services. It will also incorporate through a “bottoms-up” approach the rebuilding plans made by local government units.

“Why delay some battalions when they can forge ahead without waiting for the whole corps,” Lacson, the chief of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (Oparr), told reporters after the signing of a deal with the SM group to rebuild a 120-room hospital in Tacloban City.

“My plan is to go to the President, bring with me properly signed rehab plans vetted by line agencies like DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways), DepEd (Department of Education) and so on, and if he approves a cluster of municipalities or a province like Northern Cebu or Leyte, then we can go full swing with rehabilitation. We can expect that to happen by June or July,” he said.

Lacson said the post-disaster rehabilitation could cost about 106 billion pesos.

He also said the government had actively engaged the local private sector in rehab effort. “So far, we have collated at least 5.2 billion pesos from the private sector but there are still many more CSR (corporate social responsibility) programmes in the pipeline,” Lacson said.

Lacson said the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) would help construct a new Eastern Visayas regional hospital.

About 24 billion pesos had been committed by foreign donors such as multilateral institutions but only 700 million pesos had so far been delivered, Lacson said.  “Maybe they are waiting for concrete rehabilitation plans,” he said.

“And there’s more coming,” he said, noting that a group from the UAE called Red Crescent had committed $10 million. This UAE group will adopt low-profile areas that not too many local groups are focusing on, he said.

Lacson said the government’s post-disaster efforts were based on a cluster approach, with each cluster headed by a department secretary who will lead the submission of an action plan. These will be consolidated into a masterplan by June 30, he said.

The infrastructure cluster, for instance, is headed by DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singon and the livelihood cluster by Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo. The resettlement cluster is led by Vice President Jejomar Binay.

On a geographical basis, the 171 disaster-stricken cities and municipalities were divided into 24 areas of “intervention and development” which could be adopted by the private sector. Out of 19 areas, 24 have so far been adopted, Lacson said.

In Tanauan, Leyte, Lacson said new housing units were recently turned over by Gawad Kalinga with the help of private sector groups. The Aboitiz group, he noted, had committed a lot as well, especially for a school building.

At the same time, Lacson warned unscrupulous traders and businessmen who would exploit this situation. “We’re running after traders and hardware owners selling sub-standard materials. I’ve requested DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) to deputiSe the PNP (Philippine National Police),” he said.

Lacson said 85-90 per cent of the masterplan could be realistically fleshed out during the term of President Aquino.

There are 900,000 families whose homes were damaged by Yolanda, of which 200,000 are targeted for resettlement because their old homes were in dangerous areas, he said. “Some of them are homeless from the start. This could be an opportunity for them to have their own homes,” he said.

For middle-class families whose homes were devastated, he said lending facilities would be provided.

US$1:44.62 pesos


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