Lacson: 'Minimum must' for Visayas in place in 2 years
Mike Frialde (The Philippine Star) - December 30, 2013 - 6:03pm

MANILA, Philippines - Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR) Secretary Panfilo "Ping" Lacson on Monday vowed to deliver "minimum must" for residents of areas in the Visayas damaged by super typhoon Yolanda by Dec. 30, 2015.

Lacson participated in a forum at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati which was also attended by various stakeholders concerned about the ongoing rehabilitation work.

Lacson said actual rehabilitation work starts early next year when the Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs) will be released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Included in the "minimum must" targets are round-the-clock hospitals, evacuation centers, school facilities, round-the-clock public facilities (such as city and municipal halls, police and fire stations), improved livelihood and improved agri-based projects.

Lacson said the private sector funded rehabilitation work for the Yolanda affected areas under the PARR's coordination will take three phases: the critical and immediate, midterm intervention and long term intervention.

"The moment SAROs are out from DBM that is the time we will implement. That should come early next year. Meron tayong critical and immediate. Meron tayong midterm intervention. That should be finished by December 2015 and 'yung long term, 'yun na 'yung aabutin beyond 2016. But the political reality will tell you na hanggang June 30, 2016 lang dahil from there on, ang magdedecide na ay ang new administration," Lacson said.

Lacson said the new structures and facilities to be built should comply with the "new normal" standards of being more resilient, safer and better structures.

Lacson added that the rehabilitation work being coordinated by the PARR is purely private sector funded.

"It's purely private participation. We should delineate because we cannot co-mingle government funds with private funds. So we are trying to put up a fund that is managed and administered by the private sector," he said.

Lacson stressed that the government's role in the rehabilitation work is now coordinating with the different stakeholders to see how the masterplan will be effectively implemented.

"Experience will tell us that if the government is the one handling the project, there is a little inefficiency and delay because of the red tape," he said.

Lacson admitted that the rehabilitation work will definitely go beyond the 2016 window and that it will be decided upon by the next administration.

Meanwhile, PARR Usec. Danilo Antonio said both local and international funding groups and institutions have already expressed their desire to help and contribute in the rehabilitation program.

Antonio told reporters that the PARR will be meeting with various private sector groups on Jan. 7, 2014 to discuss the rehabilitation work.

"We are expecting heavy support as far as having development sponsors. We need a lot of big groups to support us so they could take charge of particular areas. This is nothing different from certain Metro Manila cities adopting certain towns but this time its a bigger context. For example, one particular big group owning responsibility to all the interesting projects in their areas. And they will become some sort of area managers so everybody who would want to donate in that particular area would be their responsibility," he said.

Antonio said PARR is eyeing to secure at least $4.7 billion from private sector donors which is about the same as what Aceh, Indonesia received after being hit by the tsunami in 2004.

"Aceh was looking at $4.7 billion and they ended up with close to $7 billion becuse of international help. We are figuring that if we organize ourselves, we could also get as much, hopefully the same. Our job is to organize the private fund. Get responsible people into it to draw in more support knowing that it would be getting into a fund that would be managed transparently," he said.

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