Palace says government still focused on rehab and reconstruction programs for Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) victims

By Joann Santiago

MANILA, Nov. 10 (PNA) — A Palace official on Tuesday said that government is fully focused on the rehabilitation and reconstruction programs for Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) victims as survivors commemorated its 2nd year anniversary on Monday.

In an interview by Erwin Tulfo over Radyo 5, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said it is not the intention of President Benigno S. Aquino III to ignore the 2nd year commemoration in Tacloban City.

“Ang mahalaga para sa ating Pangulo ay iyong pagtutok doon sa mga nakalatag na rehabilitation at reconstruction programs (Inspite of this what is important for the President is to focus on the programs for the rehabilitation and reconstruction,” he explained.

Coloma said priority is given to the program to provide permanent housing to families affected by the typhoon, which is one of the world’s worst cyclone.

Other major priorities are provision of livelihood programs and employment opportunities, he said.

“Kaya wala pong ganoong intensyon, at patuloy pa rin naman pong tinututukan ang kapakanan ng ating mga pamilyang apektado ng Yolanda (So there is no such intention (not to attend the commemoration program) and helping the families affected by “Yolanda” remains to be the focus,” he added.

The National Housing Authority (NHA) earlier reported that about 17,641 housing units have been completed in Yolanda-affected provinces while about 42,566 are under construction.

The government has a goal to construct about 21,455 houses by end-2015 and NHA General Manager Sinforoso Pagunsan is optimistic of hitting their target this year even with only two months left for the year.

“We are confident that we will meet the 21,000 completions as soon as we get the additional money we need,” he told PNA.

The government said about 205,000 houses need to be constructed for families living in “high-risk zones” in 14 Yolanda-affected provinces.

Bulk of these families are in Region 6 at about 117,203 followed by 56,140 in Region 8; 22,423 in Region 7; 8,760 in Region 4-B; 500 in Caraga; and 102 in Region 5.

The 205,000 houses need about Php 61.25 billion funding.

Nearly Php 27 billion has been released for about 92,544 houses. (PNA)