With United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pledging on Saturday to rally global backing to help areas hard hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda recover faster, the Aquino administration must do its part to get things done, properly.
While the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has outlined the parameters for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Yolanda-hit areas, the ugly dialogue between Mayor Alfred Romualdez of Tacloban City and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd six days after Yolanda struck shows that politics can rear its ugly head even during times of humanitarian crisis. What ever happened to the spirit of bayanihan?
Good thing that the UN head, who took time to visit some of the areas struck hard by the super typhoon on Sunday, also showed that there is a such a thing as bayanihan on an international scale. He said that international agencies will mobilize $800 million in funding support for the reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts.
The UN earlier this month launched a global $791-million call for aid to take care of the needs of the survivors over the next 12 months.
Ban added that UN-affiliated humanitarian organizations from 25 countries extended help to the areas hit by the super typhoon.
The resiliency of the residents who were badly affected by Yolanda’s wrath, however, won the admiration of Ban, who noted that most of them were striving hard to restore normalcy in their lives.
With the UN head himself committing to mobilize international support for Yolanda-struck areas, the Aquino administration must now make sure that every dollar from abroad meant for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the areas hit by the super typhoon be used judiciously. When we mean judiciously, that means that there should be zero corruption in the reconstruction efforts, and all communities that need help will be treated equally regardless of political affinity. In this regard, local politicians and congressmen should not also do their part by keeping politics out of the picture.
There may be no need for The Manila Times to remind the national government that it could not afford to commit flops in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Yolanda-hit areas. But the slow response of the Aquino administration in deploying much needed resources and personnel to the areas hit by Yolanda within 24 hours after the storm, and the bickering between Romualdez and Roxas are signs that the government bureaucracy in general has not yet learned how to effectively deal with disasters. And Yolanda was the worst disaster the country has seen in many decades.
Furthermore, the Aquino administration should generate lessons from the revival of the areas hit by the super typhoon. In terms of mobilizing funds from government coffers, the administration can be lauded for having generated savings in the billions or pesos, which could be used immediately for rehabilitation efforts.
When it comes to mobilizing financial support abroad, the NEDA setting the parameters for the rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts was a very good step.
How the implementation of the programs and programs for Yolanda-stricken areas will be done or done properly, however, will surely be watched by the international community, and the Aquino administration cannot afford to flop.