Reconstruction in Yolanda-hit areas 60% done—Roxas
TACLOBAN CITY — Interior Secretary Mar Roxas praised local government units (LGUs) in Eastern Visayas on Wednesday for wisely spending the billions-of-pesos allocated for rebuilding public infrastructure destroyed by supertyphoon Yolanda in 2013.
Roxas, who was tasked by President Benigno Aquino III to oversee rehabilitation projects in Yolanda-hit areas, visited on Wednesday projects in Samar and Leyte that got the biggest slice of the P4-billion Recovery Assistance on Yolanda (RAY).
The funds were coursed through the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Roxas lauded Samar and Leyte LGUs for “completing 60 percent” of the first phase of Yolanda rehabilitation projects more than a year after the typhoon pummeled the country in November 2013 and killed 6,340 persons.
“Natutuwa ako na makita, bagaman marami pang aasikasuhin, umuusad na tayo,” (I am happy to see that we are moving forward, although we have more work to do) the secretary told reporters in an interview.
For the entire Yolanda-affected areas, 215 out of 309 projects have been completed. The remaining 94 are ongoing.
The two-part rehabilitation program of the DILG includes the release of P2.012 billion for the first tranche and P2 billion for the second. It covers 171 towns in 14 provinces and six regions within the 50-kilometer storm track of Yolanda.
Among the regions were Calabarzon, Bicol, Western Visayas, Central Visayas and Eastern Visayas.
RAY 1 prioritizes the repair of government-owned facilities that include city and municipal halls, civic centers and public markets.
Roxas said rebuilding public infrastructure in typhoon-ravaged communities “inspires residents to stay there and work on improving their areas instead.”
In the town of Sta. Rita in Samar, Roxas, Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan and Leyte Governor Dominic Petilla inaugurated a gymnasium and a police station funded by the first batch of RAY.
In a chance interview, Roxas said Samar was close to finishing the rehabilitation after it completed 80 percent of the projects as of March 30. The DILG identified Basey, Marabut, Sta. Rita and Talalora as Yolanda-affected municipalities of Samar.
Meanwhile in Leyte, the secretary and the governors visited the refurbished Ormoc City Superdome and Palo Civic Center.
As Roxas went around the Palo Civic Center, he pointed to tarpaulins showing before-after photos of the facility from the time it was heavily damaged up to its reconstruction in April.
“Out of the P2-billion budget of RAY 1, 60 percent have been fully completed. Fifteen percent will be completed in two months while 25 (percent) in the following three months. So more or less, almost 90 percent (will be accomplished) by the second half of this year,” Roxas said.
“Ang ikinaganda nito hindi national government ang gumawa nito kung hindi idinownload sa local, either provincial or municipal government,” (The beauty of this is it was not the national government that implemented this, but was downloaded to the localities) he said.
Roxas explained, “Sabay sabay na tinatrabaho lahat ng projects at hindi nakapila sa kahit anong agency.” (All projects are done simultaneously at not bogged down in some agency)
Another P2 billion for second tranche
After completing more than half of RAY 1 projects, the DILG will release another P2 billion under RAY’s second batch, which focuses on rehabilitating damaged infrastructures in barangays.
The 2-billion budget of RAY 2 was issued by the Department of Budget and Management in June 2014 for the repair and rehabilitation of Yolanda-damaged government facilities.
A bulk of the fund, P1.5 million, will be allocated for the repair of 3,688 damaged facilities from 2,798 barangays. The Eastern Visayas region has the largest allocation of RAY 2 at P973 million.
The remaining funds will go to the Department of Public Works and Highways for the reconstruction of municipal facilities not funded during the first batch of RAY and other operational expenses. CB
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