The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said there have been “encouraging progress” in the rehabilitation and rebuilding efforts in Typhoon Yolanda-devastated areas but noted that much work remains to be done particularly for displaced persons.
NEDA reported that agency submissions as of August this year showed a number of rehabilitation programs, projects and activities have started to post noteworthy results.
For example, it reported that a total of 717,404 families have received Emergency Shelter Assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development to repair damaged houses.
The Commission on Higher Education has rehabilitated 358 or nearly all, save for three, damaged public university buildings, NEDA added.
Meanwhile, the agency said livelihood assistance programs are also reaching many typhoon survivors.
The NEDA reports also showed that 82,772 people benefited from emergency employment and integrated livelihood programs of the Department of Labor and Employment.
People who benefited from cash-for-work activities of the Department of Agriculture (DA) have reached 78,840, while 46,719 fishers have received fishing boats from the DA/Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources .
People who received livelihood and vocational training given by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority totaled 31,130.
NEDA noted some small but high-impact successes in several Yolanda-hit communities based on recent monitoring field visits conducted on July 20 to 30 on Typhoon Regions VI, VII and VIII (Western, Central and Eastern Visayas).
Among these were: reactivation of the association of micro-entrepreneurs of Guiuan that provides livelihood opportunities and generating jobs locally; reconstruction of San Jose Central School in Tacloban City, Leyte; and restoration of main livelihood of fishing communities in three barangay (villages) in Carles town in Iloilo.
Despite these developments, Socio-economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan acknowledged that much work remains to be done, especially in resettlement of people who have been displaced by the typhoon.
“The rehabilitation of Typhoon Yolanda-affected areas remains a core priority of the government,” Balisacan, also NEDA director general, said.
To date, the agency reported that only 11,247 houses have been constructed and 73,442 are under construction.
Balisacan said NEDA is working hard to identify implementation and policy issues that continue to slow down the pace of rehabilitation, and determine appropriate actions at the local and national levels to address these issues.
In April this year, President Benigno Aquino 3rd, through Memorandum Order 79, transferred the coordination, monitoring and evaluation of all disaster-related PPAs [Power Purchasing Agreements] from the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery to NEDA.
“NEDA, with all the implementing agencies and our partners from the private sector, civil society and the international development community will continue to improve the execution of Typhoon Yolanda programs and to work together to ensure that these are responsive to the needs of the affected localities,” Balisacan said.