P11.25-B of ‘Yolanda’ rehab funds still unspent: NEDA

P11.25-B of ‘Yolanda’ rehab funds still unspent: NEDA

 

TACLOBAN CITY— About PHP11.25 billion of government funds meant for rehabilitation projects for areas ravaged by super typhoon “Yolanda” nearly four years ago remain untouched as of first half of 2017.

The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) said the latest “Yolanda” progress report showed that only PHP20.94 billion of the PHP32.19 billion had been disbursed to implementing government agencies.

Of the total funds released, the social services cluster got the highest share of PHP8.71 billion, followed by resettlement (PHP6.09 billion), infrastructure (PHP4.28 billion), and livelihood (PHP1.86 billion).

“More than three years after Yolanda struck the region, there are still issues and concerns that impede the smooth and fast implementation of programs and projects in Region 8,” NEDA Eastern Visayas Regional Director Bonifacio Uy told PNA Thursday.

The report also identified five major issues in carrying out post-disaster projects, all related to relocation efforts. These are: delay in the construction of permanent housing projects in this city and other typhoon-hit areas; substandard housing units; poor access to water and power in resettlement sites; livelihood assistance to newly-transferred families; and absence of permanent school building near housing sites.

Citing reports from the National Housing Authority, NEDA revealed that only 15,422 houses out of the 56,140 target for Eastern Visayas have been built.

Among the major setbacks are unavailable lots, land acquisition issues, procurement concerns, and lack of qualified contractors.

Uy said the central government and regional officials have been working closely to complete all ongoing projects within three years.

Last week, key regional officials held a meeting among members of an inter-agency task force for the unified implementation and monitoring of post-“Yolanda” rehabilitation and recovery projects.
The formation of task force is in compliance with Administrative Order No. 5 issued on Aug. 8, 2017 by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The task force is chaired by Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco with Presidential Assistants for the Visayas Michael Dino and for Special Concerns Wendel Avisado as co-chairs. Avisado is also the Presidential Assistant for “Yolanda” Rehabilitation.

The directive has listed 17 government agencies as members.

“There are some issues that can be better addressed and decided quickly at the highest level. We’re very hopeful that this administrative order will help address the remaining works,” Uy added.

The super typhoon, which struck central Philippines on November 8, 2013, is the deadliest typhoon in the country on record, killing at least 6,300 people. This city is considered as the typhoon’s ground zero. Sarwell Meniano/PNA-northboundasia.com