Before SONA, Aquino OKs Yolanda rehab plans for Tacloban, 5 others

Paterno Esmaquel II
Rehabilitation Secretary Panfilo Lacson says his office will submit to the President the P169.7-billion master rehabilitation plan by August 1

PLAN AT LAST? In this file photo, hundreds of Yolanda (Haiyan) survivors, who still live in tents, return to the Tacloban Astrodome before Typhoon Glenda (Rammasun) hit the Philippines. File photo by Roy Lagarde/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III has approved the local rehabilitation plans for Tacloban City and 5 other areas hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), Rehabilitation Secretary Panfilo Lacson said Monday, July 28.

Lacson told Rappler that Aquino has approved the rehabilitation plans for the following local government units (LGUs) aside from Tacloban:

  • Leyte
  • Samar
  • Cebu
  • Iloilo
  • Eastern Samar

The rehabilitation for these 6 LGUs will cost P96 billion (about $2.2B), Lacson said.

For these areas, “it means that the Department of Budget and Management can now release the funds to the implementing agencies,” Lacson said. Rehabilitation projects can also begin any time.

The rehabilitation chief said Aquino approved the phased implementation of the 6 LGUs’ programs, projects, and activities last Friday, July 25. This was the first set of local rehabilitation plans that Lacson’s office submitted to the President.

Aquino is expected to tackle rehabilitation of Yolanda-hit areas during his State of the Nation Address on Monday. (Check our live updates on the President’s 2014 SONA here)

Master plan by August 1

In his text message to Rappler, Lacson added that his agency, the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery, will submit the comprehensive rehabilitation and rehabilitation plan for Yolanda-hit areas on August 1.

Under this comprehensive plan, the total cost for rehabilitating all Yolanda-hit areas is pegged at P169.7 billion (about $3.9B), according to Lacson.

This will basically be a compilation of the LGU rehabilitation plans, the secretary earlier said.

Lacson has explained his office adopts a “bottom-up” approach to rehabilitation.

This means, for one, doing rehabilitation on a per-province basis, instead of doing it all at once on a national scale. A former senator and police chief, Lacson said he wants a “bottom-up” process to avoid too much bureaucracy. (READ: 6 months after Yolanda: ‘We are failing’)

It is almost 8 months after Yolanda killed more than 6,000 mostly in Eastern Visayas, but up to now rehabilitation has not been in full swing because of unapproved rehabilitation plans.

Earlier in July, in fact, Yolanda survivors had to endure another calamity – Typhoon Glenda, which forced up to 7,318 residents from Yolanda-affected areas to evacuate.

Up to 2,600 of Yolanda survivors who recently evacuated still live in tents. –


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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at