Reconstruction on schedule – OPARR

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THE Office of the Presidential Assistant on Rehabilitation and Recovery (OPARR) under former senator Panfilo Lacson said reconstruction efforts are “on track” and that the government is determined to “raise the quality of life beyond the pre-Yolanda status quo.”

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Releasing a briefer on the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP) two days before the first anniversary of super Typhoon Yolanda, OPARR reported that the master plan that was recently approved by President Benigno Aquino 3rd puts together an “overall strategic vision and integrated short-term, medium-term and long-term plans and programs” for the recovery and rehabilitation of the Yolanda Corridor.

The CRRP contains all projects, programs and activities (PPAs) to be implemented in 171 cities and municipalities affected by super typhoon.

The plan requires a P167.86 billion ($4 billion) funding that will be primarily sourced from the national budget.

The CRRP applies the overarching principle of Building Back Better and Safer.
Building Back Better calls for holistic, viable interventions that essentially include building resilient infrastructure; exploring sustainable industries/SMEs and typhoon-resilient crops/cash crops; developing typhoon-resilient communities/resettlement sites; and strengthening social protection mechanisms in affected areas.

OPARR said rehabilitation and recovery efforts were underway even before the rehabilitation plan was submitted in August this year.

“Being given the big responsibility of rehabilitating 171 cities and municipalities with very limited power and authority is a sure formula for failure. While we at OPARR have experienced several frustrating moments in the course of rehabilitation, most of them involving bottlenecks, which we have no authority to solve, our office does not use this as an excuse. In spite of the limitations of PARR’s mandate, we try to innovate ways to fast-track the rehabilitation process,” Lacson said in a recent interview.

National government agencies (NGAs) and local government units also began implementing rehabilitation and recovery projects to the extent that funds were already downloaded to them for specific rehabilitation PPAs. Prior to the approval of the CRRP, P51.98 billion had already been disbursed by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to the NGAs for rehabilitation projects.

The CRRP calls for the relocation of 205,128 families. Of the 205,128 permanent housing units that need to be built in safe zones, 1,252 have been completed while 7,377 units are undergoing land development and housing construction. Also, 37,500 shelters have been bidded out and awarded. These units are to be completed by November 2015.

Meanwhile, 30,700 housing units already have identified sites with proposed builders, and are scheduled for bidding in November 2014. These units are set to be completed one year from the awarding of the projects. Another 43,171 are scheduled for bidding around November or December 2014.

Identified sites for the 40,000 housing units are undergoing validation and evaluation. The complement of 45,128 units to be built is undergoing site identification.

Of the 205,128 total housing needs, 155,128 units are to be completed before President Aquino’s term ends in June 2016.

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