PNoy has yet to approve rehab plan for northern Cebu 8 months after Yolanda

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Thursday, July 17, 2014


TWO months have passed since the Cabinet cluster endorsed the Cebu Provincial Government's rehabilitation and recovery plan for Yolanda-hit local government units, but President Benigno Aquino III has yet to give his approval signaling the release of funds for the program.

Rehabilitation projects in northern Cebu are ongoing, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Baltazar Tribunalo Jr. said. But he admitted that these projects were initiated by the private sector and regional offices of national government agencies.

At least three mayors stressed the urgency of getting the President’s approval of the plan, citing the threat of more typhoons.

Storm signal number 1 was raised in northern Cebu last Tuesday due to tropical storm Glenda.

Last May 30, the Cabinet cluster of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR) approved the plans of the provinces of Cebu, Samar and Leyte and the city of Tacloban, Leyte. Cebu Province proposed P12.2 billion to finance the rehabilitation and recovery of northern Cebu local government units hit by Yolanda.

Aside from the funding that awaits the President’s approval, Tribunalo said P78 million of the P285 million coursed through national government agencies was spent for repair and construction, and poverty alleviation programs.

Assistance

Tribunalo said 35 percent of the total number of affected households in northern Cebu received shelter assistance. Yolanda reportedly affected 103,318 households in 15 towns and one city in northern Cebu.

Medellin Mayor Ricky Ramirez said that Gov. Hilario Davide III should be “more forceful” in following up the plan’s approval with the Office of the President.

“Ipasangil pud unya nga wa madayon ang DAP (The President might blame the abolition of the Disbursement Acceleration Program),” Ramirez said.

The Supreme Court recently declared the DAP, whose funds are released upon the sole discretion of the President, unconstitutional.

Daanbantayan Mayor Augusto Corro said he hoped the rehabilitation funds would not come from the DAP. “I hope it would be approved soon because it would be of great help,” he said.

Relocation

San Francisco Mayor Aly Arquillano said that because there aren't enough funds, he allowed residents living near the shoreline to rebuild their houses because they have not yet purchased the land for the resettlement site.

He said they only allowed light materials so that by the time the financial assistance is downloaded, residents can easily demolish their houses and move out.

Ramirez expressed worry that the calamity brought by tropical storm Glenda in Luzon would bump off rehabilitation plans for typhoon Yolanda survivors in the Visayas.

Meanwhile, Arnel Guantero Sr., economic development specialist of National Economic and Development Authority, said they will conduct a project development training next month for local government officials whose towns and cities typhoon Yolanda hit.

Guantero said the training will help local government units translate their project ideas into project proposals.

The proposals can be submitted to government agencies for funding. (with Rosedelyn S. Catalan, USJ-R Mass Com Intern)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 17, 2014.

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