Compostela Valley draws up P16-B rehab planBy Frinston L. Lim
TAGUM CITY, Philippines—At least P16 billion is needed for typhoon-devastated Compostela Valley province to get back on its feet, officials said.
The “blueprint” which enumerates the multibillion-peso tab for the province’s rehabilitation was submitted to Malacañang last week, according to Governor Arturo Uy.
Speaking to a group of rice farmers in Nabunturan town last Friday, Uy said the biggest chunk of the more than P16 billion budget proposal— about P7 billion—was intended for the permanent resettlement of tens of thousands of Compostela Valley folk left homeless in the wake of Typhoon ‘Pablo’ last December 4, which left at least 2,000 dead or missing.
Thousands of victims in Compostela Valley are currently living in tents and bunkhouses built either by the national government through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or the provincial government.
President Benigno Aquino has created a national task force—Task Force Pablo—composed of different government agencies that would help in the recovery of areas ravaged by last year’s calamity.
Uy said he was optimistic Aquino would respond favorably to the “blueprint.”
“Hopefully, all of these programs would be allocated funds,” the governor said.
Uy said public infrastructure was severely damaged or destroyed and about P4 billion was needed to repair and rehabilitate it.
The governor said the province also needs at least P2 billion to help farmers whose livelihood was virtually wiped out.
“In just a blink of an eye, the destruction caused by Pablo erased our more than a decade’s worth of development,” Uy said. “(But) with the help of the national government and other generous entities from the public and private sector, it’s just a matter of time before we can recover fully.”
The governor also reiterated his call for unity among Comvaleños even as he took a swipe at “groups exploiting our people’s misery for their personal agenda.”
The governor singled out the so-called cause-oriented groups that led typhoon victims in staging protests in Montevista, Compostela Valley almost two months ago and in Davao City last week, during which the protesters stormed the regional DSWD office and ran off with relief goods stored there.