Yolanda survivors join gov’t monitoring body

A COALITION of Super Typhoon Yolanda victims has become an official partner in the monitoring of Yolanda-related government projects five years after the storm claimed over 7,000 lives in the central Philippines.

The Community of Yolanda Survivors and Partners (CYSP), an alliance of 10 non-governmental organizations and 163 community partners, signed the memorandum of agreement (MOA) of the Regional Development Council VIII -Regional Project Monitoring Committee (RPMC), as part of the monitoring team together with other government agencies.

As part of its role, the RPMC conducts field monitoring visits to different Yolanda Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Programs (CRRP), according to CYSP coordinator for shelter working group Joli Torella.

“This MOA is a step for the survivors to move beyond being ‘mere beneficiaries’ to stakeholders who are active and involved in the process of rehabilitation. This is a positive development towards achieving the survivors' clamor for a people-centered rehabilitation,” CYSP co-coordinator Rina Reyes added.

Following the Region's lead, the National Government should then start with honoring the “People's Plan and conducting financial and performance audit, she added.

“The survivors have every right to know how the Yolanda funds were spent and why there are anomalies, specifically in shelter rehabilitation,” Reyes told SunStar Philippines.

According to the group, they acknowledged the effort of the RDC in engaging with people's organizations and civil society organizations as “a positive initiative towards making Yolanda rehabilitation genuinely people-centered, transparent and participatory.”

Early this year, the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Special Concerns and Oversight Office for Yolanda, headed by Usec. Wendel Avisado led a series of provincial grassroots consultation to different relocation sites across Eastern Visayas region. In these grassroots consultations, “substandard dancing houses” in Lawaan, Eastern Samar were exposed in social media when housing units swayed with ease as government officials pushed against its walls, the group recalled.

CYSP claimed that Avisado “backed CYSP's proposal for on-site relocation sites aimed at restoration and protection and people's plan” after personally witnessing the “horrid situation” of the government Yolanda housing program.

“While CYSP recognized these efforts towards a more consultative approach to rehabilitation, it remains steadfast in its demand to implement on-site people-centered rehabilitation,” the group said in a separate statement.

“CYSP calls for the immediate release of the results of these consultations, so as to guide any future work in rehabilitation. We reiterate our demand for fiscal and performance audit of Yolanda CRRPs. Only when these calls are met that rehabilitation will truly serve Yolanda Survivors,” it added.

Present during the July 11 MOA signing were CYSP Lead Person for Campaigns and Advocacy Danny Carranza and National Economic and Development Authority Eastern Visayas Regional Director Bonifacio Uy, among other partner agency officials. (SunStar Philippines)


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