Rehabilitation master plan for Yolanda-hit provinces: 8,000 pages, 8 volumes
Rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson on Friday submitted to President Benigno Aquino III an 8,000-page, eight-volume master plan for the rehabilitation of provinces hardest hit by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in November last year.
Lacson said the master plan focuses on livelihood, resettlement, social services, infrastructure, gender sensitivity needs, disaster preparedness, climate change adaptation and “other environmental concerns.”
Lacson turned over the much-awaited P170.9-billion “Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan” at the Manila Memorial Park, following the Mass that commemorated the fifth death anniversary of former President Corazon Aquino, the President’s mother.
The master plan was “something unprecedented” because of the data validation that it went through, Lacson said.
“I was informed that this is something unprecedented because we validated [the data]. No one has submitted, anywhere in the world, (such) a comprehensive rehabilitation and recovery plan. So I know the world is still watching us—how we will perform, how we will implement the projects. All the clusters of the United Nations are focused on it,” Lacson told reporters after the Mass.
The rehab czar said the national government was unable to proceed with the rehabilitation sooner because funds would not be released without the master plan.
“And it’s not easy to put this plan together. As you can see, this is 8,000 pages, with eight volumes,” Lacson said.
The government had been criticized for the slow rehabilitation of provinces nearly wiped out by Yolanda, the strongest typhoon to make landfall in the world.
Hardest hit were several provinces in the Visayas, including Tacloban City in Leyte, where over 6,000 people were killed and more than 2,000 remained missing.
Lacson said the master plan was the combined work of Cabinet members and local government units through their respective rehabilitation plans.
The former senator said $10 million from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded the technical support needed to put together the master plan.
The USAID grant enabled technical consultants to go to affected municipalities where they helped mayors put together a local rehabilitation plan that would be matched with the national government’s rehab plan.
Consultants who worked with the cluster groups led by Cabinet secretaries were, on the other hand, funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
85 percent done by 2016
Of the P170.9 billion meant for the plan, P137 billion could already be used for rehabilitation until next year, Lacson said, quoting Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.
“This means that around P36 billion in residual amount would have to be released by the budget department or included in the 2015 or 2016 budget, to complete the entire amount needed to build back better [the areas devastated] by Yolanda,” Lacson said.
He added that the rehabilitation would be “at least” 80 to 85 percent accomplished before President Aquino completes his term in June 2016.