February 20, 2017
SEN. JV EJERCITO ON THE YOLANDA RECONSTRUCTION AND REHABILITATION PROGRAM
There is renewed hope that under President Duterte's administration, the resettlement of all Yolanda survivors will be better and will move faster along the road to full recovery. This is despite the dismal performance of the previous administration to address the Yolanda housing crisis.
Already, the production of housing units have increased dramatically since PRRD appointed Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco and Undersecretary Wendel Avisado to head the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and the Yolanda Rehabilitation efforts, respectively. I am confident that these gentlemen will perform their best to keep the President's promise of free housing, under usufruct arrangement, for the Yolanda survivors.
Sa free housing pa lang na ibinigay ng administrasyong ito, napakalaking kaltas na sa pasanin ng ating mga survivors. With political will, nothing is impossible. But the road to recovery is long. This reality is something we probably now have to accept. But we will not rest until we are able to find the best solutions to hasten the production of houses.
Sadly, disaster-related displacements and damage to houses in large scales have become "the new normal". Our main concern should now be towards reducing loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters.
We can start by looking into the possibility of setting up a permanent disaster agency, one that may be attached to the proposed Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, so we can be more effective in disaster mitigation, addressing emergency situations and providing immediate evacuation, shelter, housing and community rehabilitation. Such an agency could help reduce the cycle of disaster damage and lessen the impact on our human and financial resources.
The challenge for us is to start investing in making more resilient houses, buildings, schools and communities. I think it is high time to update our building requirements and standards, including a review of design, materials, methods of construction and workmanship. It seems change is the only way to ensure our survival.
Dapat parang boy scouts at girl scouts na tayo mag-isip na laging handa because we will have more storms, fires and earthquakes to hurdle.
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