Malacañang calls for unity, strength 4 years after Yolanda

Pia Ranada
Malacañang calls for unity, strength 4 years after Yolanda
The government says it continues to learn lessons from the tragedy as it works to fast-track rehabilitation of Yolanda-affected areas

MANILA, Philippines – Four years after Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) devastated parts of the Philippines, Malacañang called for unity and strength to enable the country to recover from the tragedy.

“As we move forward, we must continue to stand united and exhibit the strong and resilient Filipino spirit as we build a better nation where there is comfortable life for all,” said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque in a statement sent on Wednesday, November 8.

On this day, the country commemorates the 4th anniversary of the deadly storm which killed around 6,300 people and wrought billions in damage.

To this day, some permanent shelters for displaced residents remain unfinished and there are reports of substandard materials being used for housing.

Malacañang emphasized the progress achieved by the Duterte administration in the rehabilitation of Yolanda-stricken areas.

The government has successfully rehabilitated some classrooms, and seaport and airport facilities.

It also dubbed the administration’s shelter assistance in Tacloban City as “the most successful model.”

“Our shelter assistance in Tacloban City is the most successful model in the Yolanda Permanent Housing Program with the most number of resettlement houses occupied at 10,703 units from a total housing target of 14,433 houses,” said Roque.

But Malacañang said the government keeps in mind “lessons learned” by the tragedy.

It called Yolanda a “story of faith and hope” and urged Filipinos to continue to demand “tapang at malasakit (toughness and compassion)” from the country’s leaders.

Out of the 200,000 houses needed in the aftermath of Yolanda, nearly 40% have already been completed but only 13% were occupied as of October this year, according to the National Housing Authority.

The agency reported on Tuesday that there are already 78,291 completed houses. However, only 26,256 of these completed structures have a family living in it.

Malacañang has said it deems delays in rehabilitation as “unacceptable” as it repeated President Rodrigo Duterte’s promise to fast-track government efforts. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.