Senators call on gov’t to fast track Yolanda rehab

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Thursday, May 29, 2014


SENATOR JV Ejercito pressed the government to fast track its rehabilitation and recovery efforts in affected areas of super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

The senator made this statement after a fire razed one of the tents in Tacloban's tent city Wednesday morning, which left a mother and five of her children dead.

"I ask the government to speed up its rehabilitation work on the ground, particularly on providing inhabitable shelters and installing power generators so that accidents like this could be averted," said Ejercito, chairperson of the Senate committee on housing.

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"Nakakaawa ang pamilya. Naka-survive nga sila sa Yolanda, pero sa sunog naman sila namatay," he added.

Ejercito also lamented that Yolanda survivors living in temporary shelters still suffer from the effects of the super typhoon.

"This is mainly because of the government's slow rehab work. Until now, no power generators are installed in tent cities in Tacloban. They cope at night through candles and gas lamps," he said.

Ejercito said red tape in the government's implementation of the rehabilitation plan should be eliminated to fast-track the rebuilding of Visayas.

For her part, Senator Pia Cayetano expressed her alarm that many state universities and colleges (SUCs) that were damaged by Yolanda and the strong earthquake that hit Bohol and Cebu are still awaiting the release of the funds meant for their rehabilitation.

Cayetano, chairperson of the Senate committee on education, arts and culture, was dismayed by the slow pace of repair and reconstruction work of school buildings that were devastated by last year's the super typhoon and the magnitude 7.2 earthquake.

Cayetano said that despite the over P100 billion allocated by Congress under the 2014 national budget to rehabilitate disaster-hit areas, aside from a P14.6-billion supplemental budget, only P32.2 billion had actually been released.

"The fund allotted for the reconstruction of SUCs is P1 billion, which is not even one percent of the total rehabilitation budget. But what's holding up its release, considering that the school year is just about to start?" Cayetano asked.

Senator Francis Escudero, meanwhile, blamed the problem on the "sluggish pace" at which the government has been doing its job.

Earlier, Malacañang reportedly said it was open to rehabilitation czar Secretary Panfilo Lacson's suggestion to give him more power to ensure a faster reconstruction of the areas battered by Yolanda. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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