Aquino to visit calamity areas

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III is set to visit next week Bantayan Island in Cebu and other areas hit by disasters to check for himself the developments on the government-led rehabilitation efforts.

In an interview on Wednesday, Aquino said those who were claiming that the government was too slow in its rehabilitation efforts just have to wait for next week when he visits calamity-stricken areas.

Aquino will visit on Feb. 24 Cateel, Davao Oriental, which was hit by typhoon Pablo (Bopha) in December 2012 and Loon, Bohol, which was jolted by the magnitude 7.2 earthquake last year.



On Feb. 25, the President will also go to Yolanda-ravaged areas, such as Bantayan Island in Cebu, Palo in Leyte, and Guiuan in Eastern Samar.

On that day, he will also attend the commemoration of the 28th anniversary of Edsa People Power in Cebu.

“Maybe let’s wait for next week where I’ll make the rounds, for Yolanda, Pablo, and Bohol earthquake and show you where we are. Maybe you’ll see in the visuals if it is slow or fast,” he said.

He said the government has been assisting 1.4 million families affected by typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) alone and, of them, 918,000 families need shelter assistance.

“Ngayon doon sa mga nagsasabing mabagal...baka huwag na lang akong magkomentaryo dahil tila naasikaso nilang pumunta dito, puwede naman sigurong maasikaso ‘yung pangkabuhayan nila doon (Those who are saying it’s slow...maybe I shouldn’t comment since it appears that they are able to come here, when they can attend to their work there),” the President said referring to members of the People Surge, a group of Yolanda survivors who trooped to Malacañang last Monday to air their demands to the government, such as P40,000 financial assistance for each family and to scrap the “no-build zone policy” of the administration.

Task force

Meanwhile, the Task Force Paglig-on is following up on the help that Cebu needed from the National Government, according to Capitol Consultant Baltazar Tribunalo, Jr.

Earlier, mayors shared their frustrations to the National Government during a consultative meeting last Monday after they have not received any financial assistance for more than three months after typhoon Yolanda hit the northern towns of Cebu on Nov. 8.

Officials from the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR) who attended the meeting asked the mayors to give an updated damage assessment so they can present the document to the department concerned for the release of funds.

Tribunalo, head of the task force, said they keep on asking the regional offices for the assistance.

Earlier, the National Housing Authority (NHA) 7 planned to give P5,000 worth of construction materials per household.

For the long-term plan, the NHA will fund for resettlement sites for families living in the danger zone.

There are 13 towns out of the 16 local government units affected by the typhoon that have submitted their updated damage report to the task force.

Task Force Paglig-on will forward the assessment to PARR for the budget from the National Government.

Tribunalo asked every LGUs affected to be more patient.

“Dili lang ang PARR mopahimutang. Dapat ang probinsya, ang munisipyo kamao maningil (It should not only be PARR asking for it. The Province, the municipalities should also do it),” he said.

Yesterday, a workshop on disaster recovery planning was participated by the representatives from the provinces of Cebu, Samar, Leyte and other areas affected by typhoon Yolanda.

The workshop was sponsored by the International Recovery Program with the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. (Sunnex)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 20, 2014.

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