Duterte creates task force to monitor Yolanda rehabilitation

Audrey Morallo - Philstar.com
Duterte creates task force to monitor Yolanda rehabilitation

In this Nov. 8, 2016 photo, families light candles and offer prayers for victims of Yolanda in Fatima Village, Tacloban City. EDD GUMBAN, File

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday created an inter-agency task force that would implement and monitor the government’s rehabilitation program for areas and individuals affected by super typhoon Yolanda in 2013.

Citing the need to establish a coordinating body to ensure the efficient and effective coordination of agencies involved in Yolanda rehabilitation, Duterte signed Administrative Order 5 creating the inter-agency task force on August 8.

According to the order, the task force would serve as the central committee of executive departments and offices, including government-owned and -controlled corporations, involved in the various aspects of the implementation and monitoring of the rehabilitation and recovery programs in the locations ravaged by the super typhoon.

“The IATF-Yolanda shall consult affected communities and non-government organizations in the crafting, implementation and evaluation of the various programs and projects covered by this Order,” it said.

In November 2013, Yolanda swept across the Philippines and left a path of destruction on several islands and locations such as Leyte Island, Samar Island, Biliran, Negros Occidental, Cebu, Capiz, Aklan, Antique, Iloilo, Masbate, Palawan and Dinagat Islands.

Yolanda, one of the strongest typhoons to ever make landfall, pounded Tacloban City, destroying homes and structures and killing thousands of local residents.

Slow rehabilitation

The rehabilitation of the affected communities has been slow and the past administration was widely criticized for its perceived inefficiency.

Close to four years since Yolanda devastated the country, many are still homeless and are in temporary evacuation sites.

The president appointed Leoncio Evasco, the secretary to the Cabinet, as the chairperson of the Inter-agency Task Force and the presidential advisers for the Visayas and Special Concerns as vice chairpersons.

The concerned agencies could get their funding from available appropriations, subject to accounting and auditing rules.

“Additional funds and possible fund sources as may be necessary for the implementation of this Order shall be identified by the Department of Budget and Management,” the order said.

Officers and agencies who fail or refuse to comply with the order can face administration sanctions, it said.

The members of the task force are the secretaries of the Department of Agriculture, Budget and Management, Education, Environment and Natural Resources, Interior and Local Government, Public Works and Highways, Social Welfare and Development, Trade and Industry and National Economic and Development Authority.

Also included are the chairperson of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, general manager of the NHA and administrators of the National Housing Authority, Land Registration Authority, Local Water Utilities Authority, National Electrification Administration, National Irrigation Administration and Philippine Coconut Authority.

“All government agencies as well as state universities and colleges are hereby directed, and local government units are hereby explained to provide the necessary support and assistance for the implementation of this Order,” it said.

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