TO ensure the success of rehabilitation and rebuilding of Super Typhoon Yolanda-affected areas, urban poor groups are asking the government to consult the victims and adopt the tried-and-tested best practices in reconstruction from other parts of the world.
At the forum dubbed “Will we build back better?” at the Ateneo de Manila University, the groups said that recovery in disaster-stricken areas must promote fairness and equity and that government must ensure that ordinary citizens and their communities are actively involved.
The groups are Urban Poor Alliance (UPA), Urban Poor Associates, Community Organizers Multiversity and different people’s organizations nationwide.
The suggestions cover different aspects of reconstruction—land, houses, jobs, health and administrations of the work, necessary participants in the process.
UPA field director Alice Murphy said that there is a need for the government to acknowledge the best practices in the reconstruction.
“We want worldwide acknowledged best practices to ensure that the majority of Yolanda survivors to be served with integrity and that all their needs will be given priority,” Murphy added.
Jeorgie Tenolete, president of the Tondo-based Kabalikat sa Kaunlaran, said that nothing had changed since the typhoon a month earlier.
“The survivors of typhoon Yolanda should be consulted. Resettlement sites should not overcrowd and jobs must be given importance,” he said.
Celia Santos, advocacy officer for UDHA Amendments, suggested that barangays of different affected areas must do an assessment and planning for their short and long term rebuilding activities together with the residents.
During the forum, the urban groups also remembered “Panunuluyan,” an annual tradition that re-enacts the search of Mary and Joseph for a birthplace for Jesus.
“Because of the devastation brought about by Typhoon Yolanda, we won’t have one this year,” said Ivy Pagute, community organizer and one of the UPA group who went to Tacloban for rapid-assessment.
“However, this forum reminds most of us that almost a million people are looking for a home. This forum can be another form of a Panunuluyan because we are helping a million families to find a house,“ Pagute added.
“Funders and national government can now directly provide funds to barangays based on their identify needs. The barangay must allow active participation of its constituents so that all funds for rehabilitation plan will be accounted by the community,” she said.
The purpose of the forum was to gather suggestions for ensuring national reconstruction following on Yolanda would be a success.