NEDA to step up Yolanda rehab work

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SOCIOECONOMIC Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the transfer of the functions of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR) to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) will enable the agency to implement the framework under the Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda (RAY) documents.

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“We welcome the transfer of the functions of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR) to NEDA as provided for in Memorandum Order (MO) 79 issued by the Office of the President,” Balisacan said in a statement released on Tuesday.

Balisacan, who is also the NEDA director general, said the functions of PARR are well within NEDA’s mandate as the government’s development planning and policy coordinating body.

The secretary said the transfer of PARR’s functions now enables NEDA to more directly ensure that Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) recovery and rehabilitation programs and projects are aligned with the government’s results and implementation frameworks, as embodied in the two RAY documents: Build Back Better (2013) and Implementation for Results (2014), which in turn are aligned with the Philippine Development Plan.

The NEDA chief also recognized the completion of the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Program (CRRP) by former PARR Secretary Panfilo Lacson and his team as a critical first step in the government’s rehabilitation efforts.

“Specifically, we shall focus on the timely release of the budget for projects included in the CRRP. For this, we shall be working closely with the Department of Budget and Management to ensure that the requisites for responsible public financial management do not impede the efficient implementation of urgently needed rehabilitation projects,” he said.

PMO to oversee
Meanwhile, Balisacan announced that the overall coordination, monitoring, and evaluation functions for rehabilitation and recovery will be overseen by a Project Monitoring Office (PMO) within NEDA under the Regional Development Office headed by Deputy Director General Margarita Songco.

The Cabinet official explained that the PMO will use the existing Regional Project Monitoring and Evaluation System (RPMES) in monitoring the status and progress of Typhoon Yolanda-related projects, programs, and activities (PPAs), in accordance with MO 79.

This will serve as the basis for regularly reporting on the progress of work, he added.

“We emphasize that the actual delivery of the Typhoon Yolanda-related programs and projects remains the responsibility of government implementing agencies whose work will be coordinated through the infrastructure, resettlement, social services, livelihood, and support clusters as provided for in the memorandum order,” he said.

At the national level, Balisacan noted that each of these implementing agencies has already designated a senior official who shall be responsible for overseeing the implementation of PPAs in their respective agencies.

In carrying out NEDA’s responsibilities as spelled out in the memorandum order, he said the agency will regularly consult with local government units in the disaster-affected regions to ensure that PPAs are responsive to local needs.

The NEDA will continue to work with its partners from the private sector, civil society, and the international development community to rebuild the economies in the affected areas and restore people’s jobs and livelihood, he added.

“Taking stock of the experience in post-disaster work in the past year, we are determined to build on the gains and learn from the shortcomings. Always our focus shall be to hasten the recovery process by eliminating administrative and policy bottlenecks in the implementation of priority PPAs,” he said.

“Though we are aware that full rehabilitation requires a long period of time, we recognize the urgent need for substantial progress in the typhoon-affected localities. Success in these efforts is crucial for achieving our goal of a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive growth,” Baliscan concluded.

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