Roxas delivers P802M to Yolanda-hit Leyte LGUs

MANILA, Philippines – Interior Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas II on Thursday, April 10, went around Leyte towns and cities affected by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) to personally distribute P802 million in checks for the rehabilitation of public buildings.

In a statement, Roxas said beginning this month, the government will release an initial P1,791,400,000 to rehabilitate and reconstruct "vital public buildings owned and operated by local government units (LGUs) in Yolanda-affected areas."

The biggest chunk of the funds, said Roxas, will go to Tacloban City. Over P230 million from the Department of the Interior and Local Government will be spent to rehabilitate the city hall, public market and civic center of the Leyte capital. (WATCH: Tacloban officials working on 'master rehabilitation program')

Among the 4 provinces affected by Yolanda, Leyte stands to receive the biggest chunk of the initial fund release – about 45% or almost P802 million.

Watch this report below.

Not too long ago, Roxas was caught in a public word war against Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez. Romualdez had accused Roxas of mixing politics with disaster response, while Roxas claimed that Romualdez had leaked a "malicious" video that portrayed the Aquino administration of prioritizing politics over aiding typhoon victims. (READ: Roxas hits Romualdez for 'malicious' video)

Normalization of services

Only LGUs that have submitted the necessary documents will be part of what Roxas said was the "first batch of funds" to rehabilitate LGU buildings. The DILG had earlier instructed LGUs to submit a Program of Works (POWs) for damaged buildings, "particularly the provincial, city, and municipal halls, public markets and civic centers."

The second batch of funds, which is still being processed by the Department of Budget and Management, amounts to over P358 million.

"Bahagi ito ng pagsisikap ng pamahalaan na pabilisin ang normalisasyon sa mga lugar na nasalanta ng bagyo at maibalik ang regular na serbisyo ng LGU sa mamamayan sa lalong madaling panahon," said Roxas in the statement. (This is part of national government's efforts to hasten the normalization of areas affected by Yolanda, as well as the restoration of the LGUs' basic services.)

Based on submitted reports, 92.3% or a total of 323 “critical governance facilities” in 4 provinces and 146 cities and municipalities are partially damaged while the remaining 7.7% – 27 facilities – are totally damaged.

POWs for the partially damaged facilities is at P1.245 billion while submitted POWs for totally damaged buildings amounted to over P853.8 million.

The breakdown of funds, according to the DILG,  are as follows:

Region 8

Region 6

Roxas reminded LGUs that will receive money from the Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda (RAY) fund to submit all required documents right away.

The requirements include a certificate from a government depository bank on the LGU's trust account, and a City or Provincial Council resolution authorizing the local chief executive to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the DILG Regional Office.

Roxas was one of the national government officials who stayed in Tacloban to supervise relieve efforts in the aftermath of Yolanda. (READ: Politics, lack of command hound Tacloban)

As DILG Secretary, he is also the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council's vice chairman for Disaster Preparedness. – Rappler.com