Press Release
November 5, 2015


Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero is calling for a special audit of all funds that have been used for relief, recovery and rehabilitation efforts in communities affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda two years ago.

The senator said the Commission on Audit (COA) can conduct a sectoral audit as post-Yolanda rehabilitation and reconstruction work involves different national agencies. A sectoral audit, which is done by the Special Audits Office of the agency, is an audit of programs or activities that are delivered by more than one government agency.

The government has released P89 billion of the P167.8 billion needed for the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan prepared by the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (OPARR).

"More than half of the required funding has been released but we have yet to see the results of the projects, programs and activities (PPAs) supposedly funded by this amount," Escudero said.

"From the looks of things, we're not even halfway through with rehabilitation two years after Yolanda," he said.

Super Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, was the strongest typhoon in the planet's history to ever make landfall. It caused massive floods and a seven-meter storm surge that killed 6,300 people, injured 28,689, and affected 3.4 million families in the Philippines.

To date, more than a thousand people are still listed as missing.

Escudero, who visited Tacloban last month, pointed out that thousands are still living in transitional houses and waiting for livelihood assistance from the government.

"If the P89 billion has been released but the situation has not improved for many families, then something must be wrong somewhere. Is the process of disbursement slowing down work? Or are the PPAs really not effective?" he said.

In 2014, the government targeted the repair of 278 health facilities and 6,624 classrooms but only one rural health unit and 860 classrooms were fixed. Of the 1,982 classrooms planned for construction in the same year, only 101 were completed.

Of the target 1,129.6 linear meters (lm) of bridges that required repair and rehabilitation, only 158.5 lm were fixed, while 26 km of the target 56.7 km of roads were repaired.

Some 2,100 permanent housing units out of the 3,000 target units were built in 2014.

According to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the money for Yolanda rehabilitation came from several sources: the 2012 and 2013 Calamity Fund; 2013 and 2014 regular budget of agencies; 2014 and 2015 National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (NDRRMF); 2014 and 2015 Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program; 2014 Supplemental Appropriations; and 2013 and 2015 unprogrammed funds.

The P89 billion was given to local government units, state colleges and universities and 26 implementing agencies.

The DBM said some funds for Yolanda aid are being used to "support rehabilitation efforts in other disaster-affected areas, such as those stricken by the Bohol earthquake and other typhoons."

"We have to have a basis for identifying and addressing difficulties in the rehabilitation program, so we can make changes if necessary," said Escudero, who vowed to fight bureaucratic red tape when he accepted presidential contender Sen. Grace Poe's invitation to be her vice president.

A United Nations special rapporteur who visited the Philippines in July expressed concern that "funding shortfalls and political challenges, including inadequate cooperation between national and local governments, are delaying processes towards achieving durable solutions."

Chaloka Beyani, U.N. special rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, commended the Philippines for its immediate response but noted that sustainable solutions were "inadequate."

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