‘Yolanda’ rehab will need P361 billion

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Aerial view of devastated parts of Tacloban City after super tyhoon Yolanda. Photo By Rene H. Dilan

Aerial view of devastated parts of Tacloban City after super tyhoon Yolanda. Photo By Rene H. Dilan

The government will need P361 billion, or $8.2 million for its reconstruction projects in typhoon-devastated provinces, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

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Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the amount will be disbursed over four years and cover projects detailed in the Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda (RAY) plan, which was launched on Wednesday.

“The government has allocated about P34 billion for the critical immediate actions, which are now underway. Another P100 billion is forthcoming in 2014,” Balisacan said in a statement.

The P361 billion will cover the building of shelters and resettlement areas (P183.3 billion), construction and repair of public infrastructure (P28.4 billion) health and education services (P37.4 billion), support to the agriculture sector (P18.7 billion), industry and services (P70.6 billion), local government (P4 billion) and social protection (P18.4 billion).

Balisacan said the plan aims to restore the economic and social conditions in typhoon-hit areas and raise the “level of disaster resilience” in the Visayas region.

RAY provides estimates of investment requirements based on the results of the damage, loss and needs assessment using data from government agencies such as the National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council and Department of Social Welfare and Development.

“We are espousing the build back better principle to make affected communities more resilient and sustainable,” Balisacan said.

President Benigno Aquino 3rd told ambassadors and members of international organizations that the Philippines will be “preoccupied with critical, immediate investments” such as the rebuilding and construction of temporary housing.

“Every dollar of funding assistance will be used in as efficient and lasting a manner possible,” Aquino said.

He predicted that by the first quarter of 2014, his administration would have filled the need for humanitarian response.

Larger investments will be spread across a number of years, and completed by 2017 or before it, the President said.

“Through RAY, we are not just settling for the minimum—we do not want our countrymen merely to make do. We are taking this chance not just to rebuild what was destroyed, but again, to build back better,” he said. “Let me assure you: we know that we cannot allow ourselves to be trapped in a vicious cycle of destruction and reconstruction. We know that it is more efficient to prioritize resilience now, rather than to keep rebuilding. This is why we are going to build back better.”

He admitted that the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the worst-hit areas will not be easy, and will strain to the limit the country’s resources.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Wednesday raised its offered loans to the country to over $1 billion, adding $150 million to the approved assistance for livelihood.

In a statement, the ADB said the $150 million would support of conditional cash transfers, infrastructure reconstruction and natural resource management.

It will be added to the existing $900 million and bring ADB support to $1.05 billion.

The $1-billion loan offer far exceeds the bank’s yearly lending to the Philippines of about $600 million a year.

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