Yolanda-hit LGUs score high in emergency response, relief
Michael Vencynth H. Braga/JMD (The Freeman) - September 5, 2014 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Local government units in typhoon-ravaged areas in northern Cebu scored high in emergency response and relief assistance but low in terms of rehabilitation and recovery, a provincial assessment showed.

Carmel Ulanday, Capitol’s consultant for rehabilitation and recovery, said most international humanitarian organizations, rather than the government, were the first to address recovery of those in Yolanda-battered areas.

She, however, said the procedures in the government in terms of shelling out funds for rehabilitation really take time.

“Ngayon nauna sila (humanitarian organizations) sa rehabilitation and early recovery, nahuhuuli ang gobyerno. In fact, ngayon hindi pa nga tayo nakakapag-release ng pondo... The bulk of money that we are waiting from the national government is still coming. The thing now is sasabihin talaga ng tao na nothing has happended yet,” Ulanday told reporters.

Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III, in a separate interview, said several considerations, such as the legal and documentary requirements, contributed to the delay of the release of the funds.

However, he is hoping that the recovery plan would be implemented the soonest since the budget has already been approved by President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.

He added that the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery, headed by former senator Panfilo Lacson, is making recommendations to the president to help hasten procedures, especially on the acquisition of the relocation sites.

Despite this, Ulanday said the assessment showed that the government has advantage in terms of “timeliness” of relief assistance and disaster response

“It was timely because on the first two days, the assistance came from the government. After, pumasok na ang international organizations,” she added.

She said the local and provincial disaster risk reduction offices established good coordination during the wake of Yolanda.

“We had an incident command here, meron din sa municipal level. Everytime papasok ang international agencies meron na silang pupuntahan at the provincial and municipal level. Nandoon ang coordination,” she said.

The Inter-Agency Humanitarian Evaluation In-Country Advisory Group, comprised of the national government, United Nation agencies, international and local non-government organizations and other humanitarian partners, have been visiting some Yolanda-hit areas in Cebu since September 1 until yesterday to assess the achievement of the international humanitarian community’s response plan and to come up with lessons and future recommendations.

Among the towns visited were Bantayan, Santa Fe and Daanbantayan.

Ulanday said the evaluation was more on focus group discussion with the mayors, municipal social welfare officers and municipal DRR officers.

“This is to come up with lessons learned. This (evalutation) is not to pinpoint anyone and blame anyone on what did not happen in that point of time,” she clarified.

One of the recommendations raised by LGUs is the conduct of capacity building with the help of the international organizations where they could come up with contingency plans.  (FREEMAN)

 

CARMEL ULANDAY CEBU CEBU GOVERNOR HILARIO DAVIDE GOVERNMENT IN-COUNTRY ADVISORY GROUP INTER-AGENCY HUMANITARIAN EVALUATION OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ASSISTANT ULANDAY YOLANDA
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