Binay to prioritize rehab efforts in calamity-stricken Bohol

MANILA, Philippines – Should he win the presidency in the May elections, Vice President Jejomar Binay promised to prioritize the reconstruction of areas in Bohol heavily damaged by an earthquake and Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan).

The standard-bearer of the United Nationalist Alliance once again criticized the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Friday, January 8, over its slow implementation of the relief and recovery efforts in Bohol, which was struck by an earthquake and a super typhoon in 2013. (READ: Binay: Yolanda rehab a ‘management disaster’)

The two calamities displaced thousands of residents and left behind millions worth of damage. (READ: Why the delays in Bohol, Yolanda areas rehab?)

Ilang taon na ang lumipas, pero hanggang ngayon, hindi pa rin naibibigay ang tulong para sa mga biktma ng lindol at ng bagyong Yolanda,” said Binay, who visited local leaders and residents in Loon, Tubigon, and Getafe on Friday. (Years have passed but until now, help has not been properly given to the victims of the earthquake and super typhoon Yolanda.)

He cited the latest Commission on Audit report on the DILG, which noted that only 12 out of the 1,079 rehabilitation projects under the agency’s Bohol Earthquake Assistance program were completed by the end of 2014.

According to the same report, P1.778 billion for the Rehabilitation Assistance for Yolanda Victims (RAY)-Batch 1 was fully released, but only 138 out of 323 targeted projects, equivalent to 42.72%, were completed.

There were also no accomplishments reported for projects under the RAY-Batch 2 because the fund was only released in June last year. (READ:  IN NUMBERS: 2 years after Typhoon Yolanda)

"Nakakalungkot na kahit may pondo para tulungang muling makabangon ang mga naapektuhan ng lindol at bagyong Yolanda, hindi ito nagamit nang wasto at hindi nakarating sa mga dapat na makatanggap ng tulong," said Binay.

(It’s sad because even though there are allotted funds for the victims, they weren’t used properly and they didn’t reach those who needed help.)

The Vice President, who resigned from the Aquino Cabinet for the government’s supposed failure and inefficiency, said he would work to “eliminate indecisiveness” in the national government. He promised to support programs that would empower local government units and address their needs. 

"Aksyon agad. Wala nang teka-teka at wala nang paralysis by analysis," he said. (There will be immediate action. No indecisiveness and no paralysis by analysis.) (READ: Binay hits Aquino’s ‘lazy, teka-teka’ government)

The Vice President is set to visit other areas in Bohol on Saturday, including Talibon, Bien Unido, Ubay, Pilar, Carmen, and Tagbiliran. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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