PHL gov’t gears up for ‘Yolanda’ reconstruction

By , on May 17, 2014

'Yolanda' / 'Haiyan' file photo. Richard Whitcombe / Shutterstock
‘Yolanda’ / ‘Haiyan’ file photo. Richard Whitcombe / Shutterstock

MANILA — The government is gearing up to start the full implementation of the rehabilitation efforts in ‘Yolanda’-affected areas.

“President Aquino directed the Cabinet to act with an increased sense of urgency in finalizing the post-Yolanda rehabilitation plan, especially in view of the expected onset of the rainy season in June,” Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a Malacanang press briefing after the Cabinet meeting on Friday.

Coloma said Rehabilitation and Recovery Secretary Panfilo Lacson reported that reconstruction plans have been completed for Leyte, Western Samar and Cebu provinces as well as Tacloban City.

“After a final review session within a week, each cluster will be asked to sign off so that full implementation will commence on all fronts upon the President’s approval — resettlement, infrastructure, social services, and livelihood,” he said.

Coloma said the country has enough funds for reconstruction.

He said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has already released P32.2 billion of the total P65 billion which is immediately available for spending from the 2014 and 2013 budgets.

Coloma said Budget Secretary Florencio Abad informed the Cabinet that another P80 billion is available from concessional loans and grants given by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

He said another P15 billion has been received from foreign governments out of the more than P34 billion in pledges and commitments.

Coloma said total needs of the latest Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) covering four regions, 11 provinces and Tacloban City were assessed at P104.6 billion.

He said housing agencies also reported the start of the construction of 2,844 new permanent housing units, with another 5,760 units expected to be contracted by June.

Coloma said a total of 214,367 new houses will be built until 2016 covering 1,301 hectares.

He said land acquisition and development are expected to accelerate after the President approved the allocation of funds for the acquisition of private lands through expropriation or direct purchase.

“Now that the plans have been completed, we expect accelerated implementation,” he added.