• Lack of manpower slows down ‘Yolanda’ rehab

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    PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd will fly to the Visayas and Mindanao next week to inspect the progress of rehabilitation efforts in disaster-hit areas in the wake of criticisms that the government has not been doing enough to help the victims recover.

    At the same time, Aquino has refused proposals to offer P40,000 to each family hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda.

    He will visit Davao, Cebu, Bohol and Tacloban City and said he would report on the progress of aid efforts once he comes back.

    More than 100 days after Super Typhoon Yolanda ravaged Eastern Visayas, many residents complained of very slow progress in rehabilitation work. Aquino replied that construction was “labor-extensive” and the lack of manpower made progress a bit slow.

    Also, the President said, there were just too many people needing help and it would take time to help all of them.

    “Let us not forget, 1.4 million families were affected and 918,000 need assistance . . . to those who say the progress was slow, I would rather not make any comment,” he pointed out.

    He said that the amount required to rehabilitate Yolanda-hit cities and towns would reach P360 billion. Such fund would be spent on reconstruction of damage infrastructure, buildings and damaged industries such as agriculture.

    “If we give P40,000 to each of the 1.4 million families, it would add up to P56 billion,” Aquino said.

    “It’s easy to suggest, ‘come join us and you will receive P40,000.’ [But] how far can that sustain their family’s needs. Can they use the money to build their house?” he asked.

    The president said that to really hasten the reconstruction of destroyed and damaged houses, the government decided to distribute construction materials to those living in safe areas.

    “To complete the solution, we have also decided to shoulder their electricity and water expenses in the relocation area in Tacloban,” said the president.

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