AN INTERAGENCY body to be led by Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. has been created to monitor the government's rehabilitation and recovery efforts in areas struck by Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed on July 31 Administrative Order (AO) 5 creating the Inter-Agency Task Force Yolanda.

The interagency body would serve as the overall and central coordination committee of the government, with regard to the implementation and monitoring of rehabilitation in Yolanda-affected areas.

Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) is one of the strongest typhoons that struck the country, which resulted in massive destruction and loss of lives in several areas in the Visayas, particularly in Samar and in Leyte.

The President cited that since Yolanda wreaked havoc in the Visayas, delays to deliver necessary assistance for affected families had been noted "due to the lack of coordination between and among government agencies."

"Ensuring the timely and efficient completion of the various programs and projects is a paramount importance, given that three years have elapsed since the passing of Typhoon Yolanda," Duterte said in AO 5.

"There is a need to establish a coordinating body, in order to ensure the efficient and effective coordination between various government agencies and instrumentalities involved in Yolanda recovery and rehabilitation programs and projects," he added.

The AO directed the task force to consult affected communities and non-government organizations in the crafting, implementation, and evaluation of the various programs and projects to restore normalcy in Yolanda-hit areas.

It also mandated the Inter-Agency Task Force Yolanda to submit reports to the President every month or as often as he may require.

The task force may issue implementing rules and regulations, including specific guidelines, flow charts and times, as may be necessary.

The task force will be co-chaired by Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino and Presidential Assistant for Special Concerns Norberto Gonzales.

Members are Agriculture Secretary Rafael Mariano, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Education Secretary Leonor Briones, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Local Government officer-in-charge Undersecretary Catalino Cuy, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.

Other members include housing czar Eduardo del Rosario; National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council executive director Ricardo Jalad; National Housing Authority general manager Marcelino Escalada; Land Registration Authority Administrator Renato Bermejo; Local Waterworks Utilities Administrator Jeci Lapus; Irrigation administrator Ricardo Visaya; and Philippine Coconut Authority Administrator Romulo dela Rosa.

The funds that will be used for the implementation of the order will be sourced through concerned agencies with available appropriations. The Budget department is also tasked to determine as to where additional funds will be taken.

Responsible officers of the concerned agencies who fail or refuse to comply with AO 5 will face administrative sanctions. (SunStar Philippines)