Aquino entrusts Binay with ‘Yolanda’ housing projects despite controversies
MANILA, Philippines — Just a week before saying that Vice President Jejomar Binay was free to leave his administration, President Benigno Aquino III placed Binay on top of the streamlined bureaucratic process to speed up the building of permanent housing for victims of supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan).
Nearly a year after Yolanda, the government is set to put up a “one-stop shop” to process permits, certifications, clearances and licenses needed for “housing and resettlement projects in Yolanda-affected areas,” according to Administrative Order No. 44, which the President signed last Oct. 28.
The order assigned the Binay-led Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), which heads the government’s Resettlement Cluster, as the lead agency to implement the “streamlined approval process.”
Speaking to reporters last Monday, Aquino, apparently reacting to Binay’s recent criticisms directed at the Aquino administration, reminded the Vice President that he was part of the administration and that Binay knew where the door was if he thought the administration was going about it the wrong way.
The leader of the nominally oppositionist United Nationalist Alliance, Binay began criticizing administration policies after the Senate began an investigation into charges that he had taken kickbacks while still the mayor of Makati and that he had accumulated assets beyond his income as a salaried official.
As of Tuesday, Malacañang said there were “no definite plans yet” for Mr. Aquino to visit the areas devastated by Yolanda on the occasion of the first anniversary on Nov. 8 of the monster typhoon that killed more than 7,000 people.
At a Cabinet meeting on rehabilitation efforts last Monday, officials agreed on the “delineation of safe, unsafe and controlled zones,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma.
Coloma said the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Public Works and Highways were also facilitating the “delivery of steady supply of construction materials.”
On Friday, Rehabilitation Secretary Panfilo Lacson will deliver his “Yolanda Report: A Story on Hope and Change.”
Besides HUDCC, the President tasked at least 10 other government agencies to identify point persons in every province that was devastated by Yolanda to help facilitate the issuance of necessary documents under a “two-step approval process.”
Among the agencies given two days to work on such documents are the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Department of Science and Technology, Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, and the Municipal Agrarian Reform Office.
Given 10 days were the city or municipal council (for resolutions approving land reclassification), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (for subdivision plans), Department of Agriculture (for conversion of agricultural lands), Department of Agrarian Reform (for orders of land conversion), and the Environmental Management Bureau (for environmental compliance certificates).
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