MANILA, Philippines – While acknowledging that rehabilitation efforts encountered many snags, former president Benigno Aquino III asked critics to take into account the extent of damage that Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) caused.
Aquino was asked to react to criticism that only 13% of homes allotted for Yolanda survivors are occupied as of 2017, nearly 3 years after the storm wreaked havoc in Eastern Visayas and nearby areas.
At the time, Yolanda was the strongest typhoon to make landfall in recent history.
It caused deadly storm surges in Eastern Visayas, leading to the death of thousands of Filipinos. Many more are still “missing” to this day.
Aquino cited the situation in Puerto Rico, a United States territory, to highlight how difficult it is to get an area back up on its feet after a huge storm. Puerto Rico was hit by consecutive hurricanes recently. To this day, said Aquino, electricity has yet to be restored in most of the territory.
The former president cited delays in securing land for new housing and the lack of structural engineers as among the many reasons for the slow pace of recovery efforts.
“If it’s possible, maybe we should also remember the things we did right,” said Aquino, recalling that they were able to restore power in Yolanda-hit areas by Christmas that same year, or a little over a month after Yolanda hit land on November 8, 2013.
Then energy secretary Jericho Petilla said that all towns hit by Yolanda had their power restored. But not all households got their power back by Christmas, since linking houses to power sources was the responsibility of local government units.
The construction of the bulk of houses for Yolanda survivors, said Aquino, was scheduled for after his term. – Rappler.com