P361B needed for Yolanda recovery

MANILA, Dec. 18 (PNA) -– The Philippine government would need P361 billion for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of areas devastated by super typhoon Yolanda that wreaked havoc across the Central Visayas last month.

A national recovery blueprint, called the Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda (RAY), was formally launched by the government on Wednesday at the Department of Foreign Affairs, to address the impact of the storm, also known by its international name Haiyan.

Funding requirements are as follows: shelter and resettlement (P183.3 billion), public infrastructure (P28.4 billion), education and health services (P37.4 billion), agriculture (P18.7 billion), industry and services (P70.6 billion), local government (P4 billion) and social protection (P18.4 billion).

Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the required amount will be spread over four years, in line with a phased, cumulative and flexible implementation of RAY.

“The government has allocated about P34B for the critical immediate actions, which are now underway. Another P100 billion is forthcoming in 2014,” Balisacan said.

He said the plan aims to restore the economic and social conditions of the said areas at the very least to their pre-typhoon levels and to a higher level of disaster resilience.

Speaking before Philippine international donors and diplomats, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario assured donors that the government will handle the contributions with accountability, coherence and effectiveness.

“All of us view Yolanda’s challenge as an opportunity for the Philippines to further stimulate the economy and improve the quality of life of our people,” Del Rosario said.

“In transformative terms, we aspire to employ the ‘build back better’ principle and scale-up disaster risk reduction strategies not only to reduce our vulnerabilities to climate change, but also to strengthen our national capacities to cope with future shocks.”

RAY’s design and its estimated investment requirements are based on the results of the damage, loss and needs assessment using data from national government agency-led sector teams, the government said.

In some cases, it said, upward adjustments were made to fully reflect the costs of integrating disaster-resilient standards into the reconstruction needs for some sectors, as well as to address estimated income losses in agriculture enterprises, and to provide adequate social protection.

Total damage and loss from Yolanda was initially estimated at P 571.1 billion.

The storm, the strongest recorded to make a landfall, killed at least 6,000 people, and decimated towns and villages in its path.

Damage and loss to infrastructure is estimated at P33.98 billion, agriculture (P62.11 billion), industry and services (P116 billion), education (P23.9 billion), health (P5.57 billion), housing (P325.24 billion), and local government (P4.3 billion). (PNA)