Palace calls for unity, resiliency on Yolanda anniversary

By , on November 8, 2017

FILE: The devastation left by super typhoon 'Haiyan.' Richard Whitcombe / Shutterstock
FILE: The devastation left by super typhoon ‘Haiyan.’ (Richard Whitcombe/Shutterstock)

Four years after the Super Typhoon “Yolanda” hampered Visayas, Malacañang has called on Filipinos to unite and display resilience as the government continues with its effort to rebuild and rehabilitate the areas devastated by the typhoon.

“As we move forward, we must continue to stand united and exhibit the strong and resilient Filipino spirit as we build a better nation where there is comfortable life for all,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

On November 8, 2013, super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) destroyed Visayas areas leaving more than 6,000 fatalities and less than a hundred billion of pesos of damage to property, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

Roque also said that the typhoon is a “story of faith and hope that characterizes our people.”

“It is an account of tapang (courage) at malasakit (compassion) that we must demand from our leaders,” he said.

Roque added that the Duterte administration has pursued rehabilitation and reconstruction of Yolanda-affected communities as well as seaports, airport facilities, and classrooms.

“Our shelter assistance in Tacloban City is the most successful model in the Yolanda Permanent Housing Program with the most number of resettlement houses occupied at 10,703 units from a total housing target of 14,433 houses,” the spokesman said.

“As we commemorate the deadliest typhoon that hit the Philippines on record and offer prayers to those who lost their lives, we also keep in mind the lessons learned brought by such great tragedy,” he added.

Meanwhile, Senator Loren Legarda urged the concerned government agencies to fast-track the rebuilding of the affected communities especially giving displaced families their permanent shelters.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committees on Finance and Climate Change, said that less than half of the total housing units needed have been completed and only 12% has been occupied.

“We should be uplifting the survivors’ dignity and giving them renewed hope. It is lamentable that four years after the Yolanda tragedy, many affected families remain homeless while thousands of housing units remain unoccupied. This causes despair and prolonged agony for the affected individuals, many of whom not only lost their homes but also their loved ones,” she said.

“Concerned agencies, especially the National Housing Authority (NHA), should be more proactive in coordinating with the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) and the National Electrification Authority (NEA) to ensure power and water service connections so that completed units can already be occupied,” she added.

According to the NHA’s accomplishment report as of July 31, 2017, of the 205,128 housing units needed in the aftermath of Yolanda, 67,754 units have been completed so far and only 23,687 units have been occupied; and of the 15 location provinces, there are still four provinces–Palawan, Masbate, Southern Leyte, and Dinagat Islands–with no housing units completed yet.