Lacson: Yolanda rehab budget not enough
MANILA, Philippines – Rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson said the government is looking at P130 billion to fund rehabilitation efforts for areas affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan). But he thinks the amount is not enough.
"If we really want to rebuild safer and better... one level up should be good enough, considering the scarcity of resources... give or take, P200 billion," Lacson told reporters on Tuesday, December 17, on the second day of a consultation workshop organized by Tabang Visayas and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) at the Ateneo de Manila University.
"I prefer that we spend big in our rehabilitation efforts now, instead of repeatedly spending billions whenever a storm hits the country," Lacson added in Filipino.
Lacson said the government would be ready to present a list of the needs of the hardest hit areas to the country's top corporations by January 7. The list – designed much like a bridal registry – will be constantly updated as data about the extent of damage in affected areas continue to come in.
"I would like to request local government officials to [continue giving] us updated reports: damage in houses, schools, government buildings and other infrastructure," he said.
The former senator, appointed by President Benigno Aquino III as the Presidential Assistant on Rehabilitation and Recovery, said they would process and validate the data they receive before updating the list.
Lacson added that he would like to get information about the towns' business potentials, so that civil society organizations (CSO) and the private sector can help restore livelihood in those areas. (READ: Giant firms pledge to lead Haiyan rehab)
He also vowed transparency in the planning and implementation of the rehabilitation plan down to the local level and ensured delineation of efforts and expenditure between the government and the private sector.
Lacson also encouraged local government units to create their own rehabilitation plan that will be incorporated with the government's master plan. "Exchange of information is very important. It's indispensable," he said.
He told the mayors to strive for "a new normal," wherein communities are resilient to storms and other natural disasters.
Tabang Visayas – a loose coalition of 20 CSOs – said the output of their consultation workshop, attended by around 50 mayors of Yolanda-hit towns in the Visayas and Palawan, will be shared with Lacson.
The two-day workshop sought support from CSOs on 3 service clusters: food security and livelihood, health, and rehabilitation and recovery. The needs of LGUs as determined by the mayors were matched with the CSOs that can provide it.
Typhoon Haiyan killed 6,069 people when it struck the country last month, while also destroying more than a million homes, displacing four million people. A total of 1,779 other people are still missing. – Rappler.com