With rehab czar, Tacloban asks: What is LGU’s role?
MANILA, Philippines – Survivors of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in Tacloban City, Leyte, are ready to slowly build houses again, but they don't know where. Until now, the city government has yet to identify the no build zones.
The local government unit (LGU) can only hope that Senator Panfilo Lacson's appointment as new "czar" for rehab efforts will speed up everything.
Vice Mayor Jerry Yaokasin told Rappler in a phone interview on Monday, December 2, that the city government is taking time to draft a master rehabilitation plan because they are "hard-pressed" to look for housing sites – both temporary and permanent – that will not take too long a time to develop.
"We hope that the person appointed by the President can really do something. It might become the next Haiti," Yaokasin said. Haiti is still struggling to get back on its feet, almost 4 years after a devastating earthquake.
The local government also wants a few things clarified: who will implement rehabilitation efforts for the city?
"Akala ng iba, ng international community, [aid goes directly to the LGU]. It's not, it goes to national. But who will implement? The national government or the LGU?" said Yaokasin. (A lot, including the international community, think that aid goes directly to the LGU. But it goes to national.)
Asked who is in charge based on the current set-up, Yaokasin said: "'Yan ang gusto nating tanungin. Whose role is it?" (That's what we want to know.)
The interaction between the Tacloban LGU and national government were in the spotlight in the aftermath of Yolanda. Aquino and Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez traded barbs after Aquino criticized the LGU for being unprepared.
Initially, Yaokasin said the city might pass legislation and impose the clearing of coastal areas of residents – both formal and informal. But an engineer told the local government that not all coastal areas should be vacated.
Survivors can rebuild their homes along the coast, as long as they pick the right materials – concrete, not the usually light material that is easily damaged by typhoons.
Other areas they are considering for temporary shelter, said Yaokasin, is also being claimed by the education department for the resumption of classes in the area.
The LGU, which was largely paralyzed in the aftermath of Yolanda's destruction, was not consulted in picking a rehabilitation czar. But Yaokasin says people "should give Lacson a chance."
He also hopes locals will be part of the rehabilitation plans. "Hindi p'wedeng lahat ng consultant galing sa labas, dapat locals kasi alam ng locals ang terrain dito. I hope these experts will not just be on their armchairs," he added. (The consultants can't all be outsiders. We need locals because they know the terrain.)
While he hasn't been contacted by Lacson himself, Yaokasin says an intermediary has been in touch with the LGU. "Hopefully we will be consulted, there will be communication," said the vice mayor. – Rappler.com