(YEARENDER) President Duterte’s tough talk speeds up resettlement of ‘Yolanda’ survivors in Tacloban

President Rodrigo Duterte's order to urgently address bottlenecks in the relocation of families severely affected by the 2013 super typhoon in this city, has yielded good results in nearly two months.

The number of relocated families has drastically increased to 3,624 as of December 20, more than double the 1,564 families relocated to the northern part of the city before the President's directive.

City Mayor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez noted that the President's order on November 8 has compelled all concerned national government agencies to extend assistance in the relocation of thousands of families.

"The President is so focused and dedicated and it really pushed the speedy transfer of families from danger zones to permanent relocation sites in the north," Romualdez told reporters.

The Philippine Army's engineering brigade has been providing trucking services to beneficiaries of housing projects using military vehicles.

Water has been regularly provided by the Department of Public Works and Highways and Leyte Metropolitan Water District pending the completion of medium term and long-term water supply projects.

The Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Labor and Employment have lined up activities to generate livelihood activities of relocated families.

Two weeks ago, the Leyte II Electric Cooperative completed power connections to transmission lines near permanent houses.

The National Housing Authority reported that 3,624 housing units built by both government and private sector have been turned over to beneficiaries from the city's coastal communities. The target is to build houses for 14,433 families in 19 northern relocation sites.

President Duterte had expressed disappointment over the slow pace of relocation efforts three years after the monster typhoon's powerful winds and storm surges decimated the city.

"I am not satisfied. In three years, only few families were transferred to their permanent houses. The national offices, the respective departments, they're only given one month to process the paper and it must be out. I will be coming up with rules that bind everybody, including government corporations," said Duterte, eliciting applause from the crowd.

The Chief Executive directed Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino to closely monitor housing projects and ensure that electricity and water supply would be provided.

Dino also sent three Ceres Liner buses to Tacloban to help in the relocation of survivors. The buses have been used to shuttle the students and those working at the city center from their homes northern resettlement sites to the city for the next six months. This is a stop-gap solution until new public vehicles be established in the relocation sites.

Recently, MalacaAang appointed Presidential Assistant Wendel Avisado to oversee the ongoing implementation of housing projects for Yolanda survivors.

The city government is putting up a satellite office in the north, some 13 kilometers from commercial centers, to provide much needed government services to the resettled communities.

The local government also started a weekly market day in the area to spur economic activities and make available basic goods and commodities.

On Nov. 8, 2013, super typhoon Yolanda unleashed its wrath in central Philippines, killing around 6,300 people and leaving more than 4.4 million people displaced and homeless. The city, the regional hub of Eastern Visayas region, was considered as Yolanda's ground zero.

Source: Philippines Information Agency

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