‘Yolanda’ rebuilding on full swing


NEWLY appointed rehabilitation czar, Secretary Panfilo Lacson said rehabilitation and recovery efforts in Yolanda-affected areas will go full swing beginning February.

Speaking at the Kapihan sa Manila Hotel, Lacson said this would give him enough time to comprehensively plan with the affected local government units a systematized and synchronized rehabilitation effort.

But he said nothing would stop the private sector from their own rehabilitation efforts so long as they follow government rules and guidelines.

Lacson said “as of now I cannot give the concrete plan and specifics” as records of the extent of damage have yet to be completed.

He identified the top three concerns of the rehabilitation efforts namely housing, classrooms and hospital rehabilitation. Then comes the livelihood component.

Lacson said the government needs more help and that more should be coming from the private sector.

He estimated that P130 billion would not suffice based on his inspection of the affected areas.

For this, Lacson said, they would welcome any aid, donation or contribution from every sector, including humanitarian efforts.

He said rehabilitation would not stop with restoring the damaged areas but in transforming the old normal standards to new standards of living such as policies on settling international based flood lines, building codes and coastline setbacks.

Besides that, self-sustained central evacuation centers with kitchen, toilets and clinic are positioned to stay on high ground. This is to set “systematized evacuation during calamities.”

Lacson would rather describe his role as “coordinator” of rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts of government and the private sectors and foreign aids. He is also tasked with calling upon any office, bureau or government instrumentality including government-owned corporations and financial institutions, local government units, non-government organizations and other entities, if needed.

Lacson said he is willing to work with experts in the area of rehabilitation. A lot of urban planners, architects, engineers and medical specialists are offering their help. These could definitely boost recovery work because livelihood, business and public services that regulate social order have to be restored as soon as possible.

He shudders at the thought of another calamity that would hit the globe, leaving the Philippines with very little aid to hang on to.


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