Guv to prioritize Yolanda rehab for 2014

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

THE reconstruction of damaged infrastructures and the restoration of livelihood of the victims of Typhoon Yolanda remained on top of the priorities of Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. for this year.

“The focus of our program this year is to help the victims of Yolanda back on their feet, especially those from Northern Iloilo,” Defensor told the press in a briefing held at his office Thursday.

The governor also emphasized that they are doing everything to fast-track the construction of fishing boats under the province’s “Adopt-a-Fisherman” Program.

READ: Yolanda death toll now at 6,155

As of December 27, 2013, Iloilo was able to secure P6,277,654.40 cash donations aside from 5,079 units of motor bancas from 18 donors which include, among other, celebrities, politicians, businessmen and international humanitarian organizations.

The Korean International Cooperation Agency (Koica) pledged US$10 million (Php 443,700,000) for Northern Iloilo Comprehensive Fishery Development Program, while the United States Agency for International Development (USAid) committed US$1 million (Php 44,370,000)for infrastructure rehabilitation of school buildings, provision of instructional materials, and psycho-social rehab.

Defensor said SM Cares will also build a new community in Concepcion, if there is available lot for 300 houses. Each unit will cost P200,000 with concrete roof, community center and five-meter paved road.

“We are in the midst of reconstruction, rehabilitation and recovery from the damages brought by the typhoon and I want it all done before the year ends,” he said.

Defensor said the homeless families are presently waiting for the finalization of the proposed P14.6-billion national rehabilitation program that will shoulder their shelter needs, but the families have been provided with temporary shelters.

Hospital upgrading

After Yolanda’s massive post-rehabilitation plan, Defensor said he will also see to it that the US$7-million (Php 310,590,000) worth modernization plan for the province’s three remote hospitals will be achieved this year.

The KOICA’s grant, dubbed as “Iloilo Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Area Health System Strengthening Project,” will expand and modernize the delivery of basic health services in Aleosan District Hospital in Alimodian town, Jesus M. Colmenares District Hospital in Balasan, and Ricardo S. Provido Sr. Memorial District Hospital in Calinog.

The project will also provide basic and comprehensive emergency maternal obstetric and newborn care equipment and materials to Rural Health Units of Alimodian, Leon, San Miguel, Calinog, Bingawan, Balasan, Batad, Estancia and Carles.

The project is on top of the P500-million worth investment of the province for the upgrading of its 12 district hospitals, including its flagship hospital in Pototan town.

Regreening continues

The governor said he will replant 1.5-million trees and mangroves this year as continuation of the province-wide reforestation program to cushion the effects of climate change.

The program, “Action for Regreening and Transformation for Climate Change Adaptation,” has been a success since its re-launching in 2011 for it was able to achieve its goals of planting over one million trees each year.

Since its institutionalization, the Province of Iloilo was able to plant 2.9-million trees, including mangroves, with 60 percent survival rate.

Total Crackdown

Defensor said he will also continue to intensify their campaign against illegal fishing despite the decline in logistics and manpower due to super typhoon Yolanda on November last year.

The province now has two existing patrol boats after Yolanda smashed three others. Each of the patrol boats cost over P1.2 million.

The governor said he is eager to buy more this year just to sustain the efficiency and effectiveness of the campaign.

In terms of manpower, one of the six-man team of Iloilo Provincial Bantay Dagat died on duty during the onslaught of the typhoon and the vacant position will hopefully be filled before new equipments come in.

In terms of the campaign against illegal drugs, Defensor commended Senior Superintendent Cornelio Salinas, director of Iloilo Provincial Police Office, for job well done.

“More has to be done and I expect everyone to cooperate, especially in arresting the ‘big fishes’ in the illegal drug trade and their coddlers in government,” he said. (PR)

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