Philippines plans $3bn effort for typhoon victims

2014-08-01 14:59

(File) (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The Philippines will spend $3.89bn to rehouse some 200 000 families displaced by last year's super typhoon Haiyan that killed 6 100 people, the government said in a masterplan released on Friday.

It has taken a startling nine months to hammer out the plan because crippling bureaucracy entailed lengthy vetting, say government consultants, and sparse technical data on geological hazards and land use plans held up relocation decisions.

Thousands of displaced families remain in makeshift tents or substandard temporary shelter areas, but all-out reconstruction will begin soon after President Benigno Aquino approves the plan, although it is not clear when this will happen.

"We are confident the rehabilitation efforts will now shift to high gear", said Panfilo Lacson, presidential assistant for rehabilitation and recovery.

"We are hoping to achieve at least 80% completion of these priority projects before the end of the president's term", he added. Aquino's term runs until June 2016.

Government's slow pace criticised 

About a million homeowners will also receive shelter assistance under the plan for houses that were either destroyed or partially damaged, said Lacson, a former senator.

The effort will also help build sturdier government facilities, such as schools and evacuation centres, besides providing livelihood and training assistance for farmers, fishermen and those who raise livestock.

Lacson said the budget department had made available about 137 billion pesos this year, with the rest to be released in next year's budget, and promised transparency in project funding.

The slow pace of government reconstruction work has attracted criticism.

"It's alarming that as the typhoon season starts, we still see tents in Tacloban," said Prospero de Vera, a professor of public administration at the University of the Philippines.

Tacloban, the main city on the Philippines' central island of Leyte, was a wasteland after Haiyan destroyed about 80% of houses made of light materials, and is slowly returning to life.

"The normalcy in the lives of the people has not returned until now in Tacloban, and that is the biggest disaster of all," added De Vera.

4 million displaced

By July, Manila had released more than 35 billion pesos in aid after Haiyan, the budget department has said, spent on food and temporary shelter areas for displaced families, as well as to rebuild some public buildings.

But that amount is just a drop in the bucket, with state funds and loans from lenders such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank and bilateral sources committed to typhoon rehabilitation reaching at least $4bn.

Haiyan, one of the strongest typhoons to ever hit land, tore through the central Philippines last November, reducing most of what was in its path to rubble in tsunami-like surges and driving nearly 4 million people from their homes.

The pace of government reconstruction slowed after Aquino last year abolished congressional allocations, called "pork barrel" funds, because bureaucrats were too careful in signing contracts.

Last month, the Supreme Court declared illegal the president's stimulus fund, prompting impeachment cases to be filed against Aquino in the wake of the decision.

Read more on:    benigno aquino iii  |  philippines  |  natural disasters

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.