Chiz slams gov’t
agencies for slow response to post-Yolanda rehabilitation efforts
By Office of Senator Chiz
May 7, 2014
PASAY CITY – Senator
Chiz Escudero expressed frustration over the failure of some
government agencies to act swiftly to reconstruct areas hit by super
typhoon Yolanda despite the approval of a multi-billion post-disaster
funding months ago to rehabilitate communities leveled by the monster
In today’s hearing of the
joint congressional oversight committees on public expenditures,
Escudero noted the lack of sense urgency among executive agencies
tasked to put together a massive rehabilitation program for provinces
devastated by Yolanda as well as other disasters.
“I share the frustration of
the President. From what I have heard from today’s hearing, these
agencies do not share President Aquino’s sense of urgency, the
Congress’ sense of urgency,” Escudero lamented. “We have fast-tracked
the appropriation of funds for reconstruction and rehabilitation
specifically to immediately address the needs of the affected families
and communities and yet up until this minute the National Disaster
Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) cannot even come up with
the post-disaster needs assessment (PDNA).”
Escudero, who co-chairs the
oversight committee, said the PDNA is necessary in order to come up
with a consolidated rehabilitation plan, but the NDRMMC admitted it is
still in the process of collecting assessments.
“This is very sad. Six
months after Yolanda, more than a year after the previous disasters we
don’t even know what exactly the affected communities need? It is not
about what we can give or what we will to give. This lackadaisical
attitude is prolonging the anguish of victims. It is bordering on
criminal already,” he said.
Escudero said agencies who
act with unreasonable protracted effort will be called to task and
will be exacted compliance to speed up the rehabilitation efforts
through the power of the oversight committees.
According to Escudero, only
about 10 percent of the total 2014 post-disaster budget has been
utilized since it was approved last December.
“Congress has appropriated a
total amount of P40 billion for 2014 and only P3 billion has been
spent as of date. It’s already been four months after the budget has
taken effect and yet the blue print for rehabilitation is still blue
or even blank. We are now entering a new cycle of rainy season, and
plans and projects will be again halted by the bad weather. How slow
can our agencies get?” he pointed out.
The executive agencies
invited to the oversight hearing were the Department of Social Welfare
and Development, the Department of Education, the Department of
Agriculture, the Department of Public Works and Highways, the
Department of Budget and Management and the Office of the Presidential
Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (OPARR).