Friday, January 24, 2014

Gov't to ensure sustained rehab work in Yolanda-hit areas Friday 24th of January 2014

Gov't to ensure sustained rehab work in Yolanda-hit areas
Friday 24th of January 2014

MAKATI CITY, Jan 24 -- With just 20,000 hours – or two-and-a-half years – left to get its work done, the government is adopting long-term measures to ensure the rehabilitation work in areas hit by super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) will continue even after the Aquino administration’s term ends in 2016.

Presidential Assistant on Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Panfilo M. Lacson said his office has adopted an understudy that will continue its work even after the Aquino administration ends on June 30, 2016.

“We have no other option but at least to have substantial compliance, 85 to 90 percent by June 30, 2016. But we are also engaging an understudy para maski wala na kami pwede patuloy pa (we are adopting an understudy that will continue our work after our terms end),” he said at an interview in Makati City.

He said this will complement the private sector here, which he said can continue working in the affected areas after so many administrations.

Lacson said that if many of these private sector firms are committed to do the rehabilitation work, “they will stay there because they have a sense of commitment” to get the job done.

In the meantime, he said his office hopes to see some structures built in the next six months to one year.

Also, he said his office will continue to coordinate with the private sector and with foreign sponsors on the rehabilitation work.

Up to now, he said many people affected by Yolanda still lack the basics, citing the case of some people in parts of Samar who are forced to live in caves.

Meanwhile, Lacson reassured residents and local government officials in the affected areas his office will remain color-blind as far as political affiliation is concerned.

“One thing I learned in this job is being color-blind. We’re dealing with different political personalities, and I always emphasize to them when I talk to them, na huwag kayong mag-alala kasi color-blind kami rito (don’t worry because we work with you regardless of your political color),” he said.

“Ang problema kasi, pag pulitika ang pumasok sa usapan, hindi mayor ang pinaparusahan mo kundi mga tao, mga biktima. At kung tutulungan mo ang area, hindi mo tinutulungan ang mayor, governor or congressman, ang tinutulungan mo ang mga taong nagsa-suffer. So yan ang outlook namin ang attitude namin. And it will stay that way (If you start looking at people through their political affiliation and withhold aid, you are punishing not the official but their constituents. And if you help a local government, you are not helping the local official but the people they are supposed to serve. That is our outlook and it will stay that way),” he added.

Lacson also reiterated his office will observe minimum requirements in the implementation of rebuilding structures such as schools and multi-purpose halls.

He said schools and multi-purpose halls should be resilient and can serve as emergency evacuation centers, while hospitals should be able to serve as command and communications centers. (PCOO) - See more at:

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