Cebu asks for P10B instead of P26.8B-A A +A
Thursday, February 27, 2014
CEBU -- Governor Hilario Davide III has reduced his proposed rehabilitation fund for Cebu from P26.8 billion to P10 billion, after a meeting last Tuesday with President Benigno Aquino III.
“Let’s be realistic,” Davide said.
He said the adjustment was based on a report from Task Force Paglig-on chief Baltazar Tribunalo, who presented the consolidated rehabilitation plans of 12 local governments in northern Cebu, before the presidential visit.
Besides, Davide said, foreign and local assistance continues to come in for northern Cebu communities struck by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) last November 8.
Tribunalo, in a separate interview, said the task force will reduce the cost of each house they will build from P250,000 to P70,000 to P80,000, at most.
The task force’s target is to build 12,000 houses. Tribunalo did not name the three local government units (LGUs) that have yet to submit their rehabilitation plans.
Capitol officials admitted the target falls below the 103,000 houses destroyed or damaged by the typhoon.
This figure is decreasing, Davide said, as some opted to repair their homes themselves.
Davide already told the President about Cebu’s adjusted proposal for the rehabilitation fund, and the latter reportedly promised to help.
When he visited last Tuesday, Aquino said that before government facilities are rebuilt, officials must make sure these are outside the danger zone and designed to withstand the effects of climate change.
After Yolanda struck the Visayas more than three months ago, the government has declared a 40-meter zone on all coastlines as no-build zones.
The typhoon damaged or destroyed more than a million houses in nine regions, many of them in coastal areas. It also left more than 6,200 dead, nearly 1,800 missing and more than 28,000 injured.
About P39 million worth of infrastructure, crops and agricultural equipment will need to be recovered.
Davide said the adjusted estimate of P10 billion is based on the rehabilitation plans of the Province, the consolidated local reports and the identified requirements.
The figure may still increase, once the remaining three local governments submit their plans, he said.
Davide added he found the earlier proposal of P26.8 billion too big, considering that Cebu is already getting foreign and local assistance.
“As a matter of fact we already signed two MOAs (memoranda of agreement), one with UNDP (United Nations Development Program) and one with the International Labor Organization,” said Davide.
The Cebu Provincial Board authorized Davide last January 6 to sign a memorandum of agreement with UNDP for P13.49 million in assistance downloaded to the Capitol for an early recovery program for typhoon survivors.
The ILO has been providing funds for the local governments’ cash-for-work program in typhoon-affected areas; the funds pay for, among others, the wages of those who cleared the streets of debris or rebuilt damaged homes.
“Of course, kining gihatag nilang assistance dili ma cover tanan na-affected (the assistance won’t be enough to cover everyone who was affected),” said Davide. Those who cannot rebuild or recover on their own will be prioritized.
Tribunalo explained that low-income households will be prioritized, as well as those with senior citizens, widow or widowers, or persons with disabilities. Those based in no-build zones are also on the priority list.
During his visit to Bantayan, President Aquino also said the National Government will help make the island a tourism center.
Sta. Fe, Bantayan Mayor Jose Esgana encouraged residents to offer home-stay accommodations for tourists during the Holy week.
Davide said he will ask the agencies concerned to develop the Sta. Fe airport to attract more tourists.
Three beach resorts in Sta. Fe have been identified to accommodate 100 international volunteers who are expected to help provide materials and rebuild houses.
However, these resorts cannot accommodate all the 100 guests on their own, after the typhoon damaged some of their rooms and cottages.
Based on the previous damage assessment of the Capitol, Sta. Fe alone needs P229.364 million to recover and rebuild. Of that amount, P21.48 million is needed for infrastructure and P125 million for livelihood and jobs.
Holy Week is usually a peak season for tourism in Bantayan.
Mayor Esgana said that households who can provide decent rooms with restrooms will support the recovery of the town’s tourism and livelihood sectors.
Governor Davide, for his part, promised to ask for the help of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) for the development of Sta. Fe airport, as well as the airport in Camotes Island.
“Kay nakita pod sa Presidente ang tourism potential diha sa area (The President saw the tourism potential in the area),” Davide said.
The airport in Bantayan Island accommodates small private airplanes used for chartered flights.
The governor said the Capitol is willing to spend for the development of the airport, but if it the Province cannot afford the expenses on its own, then officials will seek help from the Department of Transportation and Communication. (OCP/FMG/Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 28, 2014.