‘Gov’t, private sector should be partners’
Two weeks after supertyphoon Yolanda struck, the need for the private sector to work with the local government to help communities recover is all the more vital.
“The local government cannot do it alone. Partnerships are necessary,” said Jerry Velasquez, United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) advocacy head during a roundtable discussion with private sector representatives at the Marco Polo Plaza yesterday.
UN SPECIAL REP
Margareta Wahlstrom, special representative of the UN Secretary General, said the challenge now is recovery and rehabilitation.
“I’ve been in the Philippines for three days now. (We spent) two days in Manila talking to (different government organizations). This morning we went to Bantayan. We didn’t really come here for relief,” Wahlstrom said.
She said the team surveyed the extensive damage to houses and discussed with Bantayan mayors and some of residents key needs and their hopes for the future.
“The important thing is economic recovery. As you know, Bantayan is the egg basket of the Visayas, and now the basis for that has been completely destroyed,” she told Cebu Daily News.
The panel included Dindo Perez of Genvi Development Corp., former San Francisco town mayor Alfredo Arquillano Jr. and representatives ofthe Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc., and University of Cebu.
Velasquez discussed how the government and private sector work together when calamity strikes.
“There are things that the government is good at, and there are things that the private sector is good at, such as cleaning-up, or delivering, or even logistics because they have the equipment. When calamity strikes, you already know who you will rely on for particular services,” he said.
Small entrepreneurs may not have the resources of a big corporation, but the best way they can help “is to ensure they are prepared for a disaster. Even if they don’t help others, they can help themselves. Because our experience is that the small entrepreneurs go bankrupt even after a medium-scale disaster. They are the cornerstone of the local economy. And if all of them go bankrupt, the local economy would collapse.”
Earlier, the Capitol appealed for partnerships with the private sector to coordinate post-storm efforts that are shifting from relief to the rehabilitation phase. This includes a ‘food for work’ program to encourage residents in north Cebu, the hardest hit area, not to rely on dole-outs but to get involved in cleaning-up storm debris and rebuilding the community.
Yesterday, a fun run organized by Lapu-Lapu City Councilor Harry Radaza, was able to gather donations of relief goods for typhoon survivors staying in four evacuation centers in the city.
Participants of the 4th Frankie Radaza Run were asked to give a liter of water, a kilo of rice, three packs of noodles and two canned goods as their registration fee.
The original aim of the fun run was to gather Christmas gift packs for Lapu-Lapu indigents.
“They will still get their Christmas packs but they will share these with the evacuees this time,” Radaza said.
The fun run was held in honor of Radaza’s late father, who went missing after his plane crashed in Palawan a few years ago./With Correspondent Norman V. Mendoza