• Aid for Yolanda victims to take back seat


    RELIEF and humanitarian assistance being received by the victims of Typhoon Yolanda may soon be reduced as the national government shifts its attention to recovery and rehabilitation, according to Secretary Panfilo Lacson, head of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (OPARR).

    The decision, Lacson said, was made during the July 4 Inter-Cluster Coordination Meeting of the government and the Humanitarian Country Team, which is chaired by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and co-chaired by the United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator and United Nations Development Program (UNDP). This means that the relief and humanitarian phase which involves the distribution of relief goods, food-for-work and other similar programs will cease to give way to the recovery and rehabilitation phase.

    “There will still be cash for work and distribution of relief goods but it will be lesser,” Lacson explained in a radio interview.

    According to Lacson, the UN usually begins the transition from the relief and humanitarian phase to the recovery and rehabilitation phase one year after a major natural calamity occurs. However, the UN decided to start the transition four months earlier because of the progress seen in areas hit by Typhoon Yolanda.

    At present, Lacson said, six local government units (LGU) have completed and submitted their rehabilitation and recovery plans to Malacañang. Once approved by the president, the funds intended for the rehabilitation and recovery can now be released to the said LGUs in order for them to start the reconstruction of damaged structures.


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