P8B disbursed by govt for Tacloban rebuilding

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The national government has poured P8.09 billion for  rehabilitation of Tacloban City (Leyte), which was destroyed by Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, according to rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson.

In a statement on Thursday, Lacson said the amount translates to half of  the city’s requested and approved total funding requirement estimated at P15.73 billion.

Of the P8.09 billion for Tacloban alone, he added,   P3 billion was disbursed for repair of roads and bridges, P367.44 million for social services, P4 billion for permanent relocation and P714 million for livelihood assistance.

“Based on these figures, Tacloban City has received the most funding support from the national government for its rehabilitation needs,” Lacson said.


Through this funding support, he added,  several projects are ongoing or have been completed.

Among these are the ongoing repair of Tacloban Base Port and Daniel Romualdez Airport, which is targeted to be completed by the end of 2014.

Repair of the city hall, civic center and public market, funded through the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), are all also ongoing, Lacson said.

According to the former senator, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has begun distributing Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) to affected households with partly and totally damaged houses in safe areas of Tacloban City.

He said ESA distributions will amount to P315.55 million.

Various livelihood efforts include Cash for Building Livelihood Assets (CBLA) assistance to 9,725 families; Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) employment program for 1,151 beneficiaries; and repair or replacement of damaged fishing boats for 547 fishermen.

Lacson said  all targeted 14,433 permanent housing units for Tacloban City have been funded with a total amount of P4.01 billion.

As of Thursday, he reported that 1,124 housing units had been completed and 5,526 are being constructed with target completion in 2015.

Based on Tacloban City’s report submission dated May 22, 2014, according to Lacson,  total damage to the city is estimated at P7 billion while its total rehabilitation and recovery funding is pegged at P15.73 billion.

He said the government’s comprehensive approach ensures that beyond addressing disaster-related damages and losses, funded projects and activities will improve the Yolanda-affected areas in keeping with principle of “building back better.”

“Most of the funds are coursed through implementing agencies such as the National Housing Authority, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Trade and Industry and DSWD,” Lacson added.

“[M]y focus now is to exercise my oversight functions during implementation stage and ensure that the rehabilitation projects are delivered efficiently and timely for the benefit of the people,” he said.

Lacson made a detailed report of assistance for this city after a recent squabble between him and Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez.

He had criticized the mayor for being uncooperative while Romualdez said  the national government has been neglecting the city.

The mayor even asked Lacson to step down from his post but the rehabilitation czar responded that he would just help instead of resigning.

“Tacloban is only one of the 171 cities and municipalities directly affected by Yolanda. We are ensuring that all areas in the Yolanda corridor will get the assistance they need,” Lacson said.

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