Tacloban lauds Duterte for speedy ‘Yolanda’ rehab

TACLOBAN CITY– Four years after super typhoon “Yolanda” struck, the city government here lauded President Rodrigo Duterte for accelerating the post-disaster rehabilitation.

Tacloban Mayor Cristina G. Romualdez said President Duterte’s order to triple recovery efforts has yielded positive results in this city.

Romualdez shared that from less than 3,000 completed houses in the northern resettlement sites from 2014 to 2016, the number has increased to 10,677 at present with 9,538 ready for occupancy.

The National Housing Authority (NHA) targets to build 14,433 units in this city alone. About 8,000 houses have been awarded to beneficiaries.

The mayor noted that the rehabilitation efforts has significantly improved after President Duterte expressed disappointment over slow pace of resettlement projects.

“The four years into the road of the government rehabilitation efforts has been punctuated by the national government renewed thrust to accelerate rehabilitation,” Romualdez said.

“Since last year we have seen a great improvement in the transfer of displaced families upon instruction of President Duterte, concerned government agencies have been mobilized to fast track the overdue rehabilitation projects.”

During his visit on November 8, 2016, the President was upset that only 1,564 families were transferred to permanent houses.

The Chief Executive directed Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino to closely monitor housing projects and to ensure that electricity and water supply would be provided.

Early this year, Duterte returned to this city and threatened to crucify concerned government officials if they would fail to address the basic needs of resettled families.

Dino has deployed buses from Ceres Bus Company to help in transporting students and workers from Tacloban north to the city proper. This is a stop-gap solution until new public vehicles be established in the relocation sites.

Late last year, Malacañang also appointed Presidential Assistant Wendel Avisado to oversee the ongoing implementation of post-“Yolanda” recovery projects.

The President’s directive compelled the Leyte II Electric Cooperative to connect power to houses, even without the required application and supporting documents. The city government then facilitated the processing of requirements.

As a short term solution to the water scarcity, the government acquired six water tankers that deliver 130 tons of water to resettlement sites daily since 2014.

The Department of Public Works and Highways has contracted a private provider of water to other sites.

“We are also working on ways to install pipelines to the relocation sites as a permanent solution to the water supply,” Romualdez added.

On November 8, 2013, super typhoon “Yolanda” unleashed its wrath in central Philippines, killing around 6,300 people and leaving more than 4.4 million people displaced and homeless.

The city, the regional hub of Eastern Visayas region, was considered as “Yolanda’s” ground zero. Sarwell Meniano with reports from Christine Quimbo, OJT/PNA