“The Office of the President recognizes that natural hazards have become the new normal in the 21st century and therefore, we must continue to be relentless in creating safe, adaptive and resilient communities. It is our collective responsibility,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
The Star/File
Palace learns from Yolanda, tells Pinoys to be more resilient
Rhodina Villanueva, Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - November 10, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang yesterday marked the sixth anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda with a renewed commitment to make communities more resilient to climate change.

“The Office of the President recognizes that natural hazards have become the new normal in the 21st century and therefore, we must continue to be relentless in creating safe, adaptive and resilient communities. It is our collective responsibility,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

Panelo also paid tribute to the sacrifices of all agencies of government and the help of many other institutions to allow the thousands of affected residents to rise from the tragedy.

“Once again, we honor the sacrifices of those in the frontline agencies of the government, the different organizations, the many volunteers and the unnamed and anonymous Juan de la Cruz, who responded during one of the most difficult times our country faced,” Panelo said.

“We laud the exemplary resilience of our own people who, in the face of a great adversity, have remained steadfast and have moved forward,” he said.

Yolanda has taught the Filipinos, especially those in the bureaucracy, a hard lesson in public service.

“Tapang (courage) and malasakit (sympathy) became buzzwords of a people weary of government apathy,” Panelo added.

Some of those affected by Yolanda trooped to several government offices in Manila to denounce the failure of the government to stop inefficiencies and corruption in the construction of substandard houses in the typhoon-affected areas.

Members of the Community of Yolanda Survivors and Partners (CYSP) from various provinces lamented the poor housing conditions they have been experiencing.

“While the Duterte administration merely inherited the dismal reconstruction, it is disappointing that this continued under his administration. This is the reason substandard houses continued to be built along Yolanda corridor,” said Lita Bagunas a leader of Uswag Este, an organization of survivors in Eastern Samar.

CYSP also claimed that even congressional hearings did not appear to have official reports and recommendations that could have been the bases for serious reforms in housing reconstruction.

“One of the major complaints of survivors concerns the construction of substandard housing across Yolanda-affected areas. These anomalies were unearthed in the congressional investigations and COA (Commission on Audit) also published reports on such anomalies. These reports should have compelled changes in housing reconstruction,” according to Aaron Pedrosa of Bulig Visayas, also a survivors organization.

Sen. Christopher Go earlier said he would move to have the issue of substandard housing units investigated by the Senate.

Go also guaranteed the President will go after government officials and contractors responsible for incomplete and substandard housing projects f

SALVADOR PANELO
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