Malacanang admits ‘Yolanda’ shortcomings

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MALACANANG on Sunday admitted that the government has been unable to adequately address the needs of those affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda.

But Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the government is determined to carry out rehabilitation in all 171 municipalities and cities affected by the calamity.

“We realize that despite its best efforts, government is unable to adequately respond to all the needs of all the affected families and individuals. We continue to welcome suggestions on how we can improve our response and assistance,” Coloma said in a statement.

As the country marked the 100th day of the devastation, the official vowed that families now living in bunkhouses and temporary shelters will be provided permanent housing in new human settlements with facilities for livelihood activities.


“New school buildings, municipal halls, public markets, and town centers will be constructed,” he added.

According to Coloma, President Benigno Aquino 3rd has directed members of the Cabinet to prepare a detailed roadmap for effective response to disasters before the onset of the rainy season in June.

“This will include adoption of new emergency alert protocols for storm surge, floods, and landslides; strict implementation of no build zones along coastlines; and higher standards for disaster resiliency of buildings and infrastructure,” he said.

Learning from Yolanda’s lessons, the Palace official also said that priority would be given to setting up of an all-weather communications system including satellite phones and mobile communications kits to ensure uninterrupted connectivity despite power service interruption.

“As we stated in the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit last December 2013, the Philippines and other disaster prone countries must break the cycle of prediction, devastation, and rehabilitation by adopting the principle of build back better and being more productive. The President has also said that, with the worsening effects of climate change, we must make even greater measures to adapt including reinforcing our supply of power,” said Coloma.

He also promised to act on reports of abuse or anomaly in the provision of relief services to victims of calamities. Coloma called on all Filipinos to continue working with government and all donor and aid agencies in extending a helping hand to the victims.

“In order to build back better, reconstruction and rehabilitation must be needs-based and grounded on concrete realities at the grassroots level. For this reason, Secretary Panfilo Lacson has prioritized local government units that have done their homework in preparing a post-disaster needs assessment analysis and corresponding rehabilitation plan,” Coloma said.

JOEL M. SY EGCO

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