Paje calls for start of cleanup, rehab in disaster-hit south

Posted at 12/09/2012 8:16 PM | Updated as of 12/10/2012 8:28 AM

MANILA, Philippines -- Environment Secretary Ramon Paje has appealed to all stakeholders to begin the “mammoth task” of cleaning up and rehabilitating areas devastated by typhoon Pablo.

He said local government units, specifically those in the provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental, need all the help they can get from the government, private sectors, civil society groups and other stakeholders.

“It’s a mammoth task to do the cleanup and rehabilitation of areas devastated by the typhoon, and the LGUs cannot do these alone. They need the help of everyone, including the national government, the private sector, the civil society and the affected communities themselves,” he said.

According to Paje, both the public and private sectors need to work together to help the victims find safe and stable places.

“This is the time to support and help each other, and work hand in hand to overcome this devastation of unspeakable magnitude," he said.

Paje, who accompanied President Benigno Aquino III on Friday during a visit to the devastated areas in Mindanao, said the destruction he saw “should always remind us that we should not take our environment for granted."

He also asked the LGUs anew to enforce a “no man’s land” rule in permanent danger zones.

“As we begin the cleanup and rehabilitation of areas ravaged by the typhoon, it would be better if those in the permanent danger zones are relocated to areas safe from landslides and flashfloods,” Paje said.