Aquino forms task force to rebuild Tacloban, other places
MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III has formed a Cabinet-level task force led by Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, a former Leyte governor, to accelerate relief efforts and begin the rehabilitation fo Tacloban City and other places battered by supertyphoon “Yolanda”.
Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the task force was given five days to submit a comprehensive program for approval by the Cabinet on Wednesday.
“The President emphasized to the Cabinet that a fine-tuned plan responsive to the specific needs at the community level is necessary. He also said that it is important to enable the people to attain greater self-reliance while participating in the rebuilding of their communities,” Coloma said at a Palace news briefing.
Part of the task force are Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Science and Techonology Secretary Mario Montejo, who were given a special job to determine if anybody was culpable for the “extraordinarily high number” of typhoon fatalities in Tacloban City, Tolosa, Tanauan, Palo, Dulag and the nearby areas “that according to the statistics account for more than 90 percent of all the casualties.”
Coloma said the task force would tackle the following: shelter and reconstruction, to be spearheaded by Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson; power restoration, to be spearheaded by Petilla; livelihood and employment, to be the reposibility of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, Labor Secretary Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Director General Joel Villanueva; resettlement and psycho-social care, to be handled by Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman; environmental protection (Environment Secretary Ramon Paje); resource generation and allocation (Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, and Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario); and local government coordination (Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II).
Coloma said the President has also tapped the support of Oriental Mindoro Gov. Aurelio “Boy” Umali, president of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP), to mobilize the Leagues of Provinces, Cities, and Municipalities and the Liga ng mga Barangay in a concerted effort to engage the citizenry at the grassroots level, including the implementation of adopt-a-town and adopt-a-family programs proposed by local leaders.
Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras will supervise the Task Force while Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan will handle planning coordination.
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