More foreign loans seen for ‘Yolanda’ rehab

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Foreign loans to aid reconstruction efforts in areas struck by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) are expected to increase in the medium and longer term, an economist said.

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Victor Abola, University of Asia and the Pacific economist, told reporters during a First Metro Investment Corp. press briefing that aside from the present efforts and P361-billion budget of the government as well as countries and international organizations, foreign loans are forecast to reach P112.5 billion by 2016.

While he cited the government’s P361-billion Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda (RAY) plan that will last until 2017, he noted that foreign loans “will likely add” up to P45 billion this year, another P45 billion for 2015 and P22.5 billion for 2016.

Besides foreign loans, Abola said that peso loans within the budget will be “realigned” as the settled budget of P361 billion may need additional for improving and restoration of the areas in Visayas struck by the super typhoon.

Increased reconstruction and rehabilitation will also increase the gross domestic product of the country by over 1 percent for 2013, about 0.2 percent in 2014, 0.3 percent in 2015 and 0.4 percent in 2016, he said.

According to Abola, aid will also increase from the P10 billion in 2013 to both P22.5 billion in 2014 and 2015, as well as the P5 billion in 2016.

National government spending or the allotted budget of the government for Yolanda reconstruction is also seen to go up from P34 billion in 2013 to P100 billion in 2014, P127.1 billion in 2015 and P100 billion in 2016.

The economist said that the contribution of Yolanda reconstruction to the economy is as great as the lost agricultural factors in the region.

In mid-December, the government through the National Economic and Development Authority released the P361-billion RAY plan that serves as the assessment of the scope of destruction in the Visayas, and guiding plan of reconstruction and rehabilitation to be done in the typhoon-stricken areas.

The Canadian government has awarded P800 to P1-million worth of funds to seven nongovernment organizations accross the Philippines to respond to the relief and rehabilitation efforts for communities affected by Typhoon Yolanda.

The rehabilitation project, the Canadian Embassy in Manila said, will run from three to four months wherein these seven selected NGOs must deliver the assigned tasked funded by Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI).

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