LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – President Aquino should appoint a rehabilitation czar in the areas damaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said yesterday.
He proposed that Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras be named to the post, adding that relief and recovery efforts should be centralized under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Citing a Bloomberg report, Salceda said Yolanda’s economic impact could reach $14 billion or P604 billion, which is equal to five percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
“The impact will be felt on the GDP’s fourth quarter but its full impact will continue next year as it overlaps with the cost of reconstruction from Typhoon Pablo, the damage on Zamboanga City and the Bohol earthquake which could reach P60 billion,” he said.
Meanwhile, Almendras said the President has appointed Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya as the “czar on how to move things.”
“He’s the transport guru now. So air, land, and sea are at his disposal to make sure we move the goods just as fast as we can pack them,” he said.
Amid criticisms on the slow pace of relief operations, Almendras also assured the public that a master plan is in place to address the needs of the survivors in hardest hit areas.
“This is the first time we are going to try it at this magnitude. So far, goods are moving. So it’s really the resources. You cannot imagine the magnitude of resources that need to be made available to do this,” he said.
Jollibee, Metrobank, Toyota aid
More private corporations and local government units chipped in for Yolanda victims.
Jollibee Foods Corp. and Jollibee Group Foundation pledged P30 million in relief and rehabilitation assistance.
Almost 300 of its employees have also been mobilized to assist the DSWD in repacking relief goods.
At least 600 sacks of rice and ready-to-eat meals have been previously provided to more than 20,000 survivors and volunteers.
Metrobank Foundation president Aniceto Sobrepeña announced the P50-million joint donation of Metrobank Group, Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) and Toyota Financial Services Philippines.
The amount would be equally divided for relief operations and the reconstruction of churches, schools and other infrastructure.
“We are saddened by the extent of destruction in the lives and properties among our fellow Filipinos in the Visayas, including the province of Palawan brought about by this recent calamity… We hope other corporations will do their share as a show of solidarity with the victims,” Metrobank Group chairman and founder George SK Ty said.
Philippine Airlines flew eight medical teams and one psychosocial team to Tacloban City yesterday. The teams also brought medicine, medical equipment and other supplies to augment the efforts of the Department of Health. – With Mike Frialde, Delon Porcalla, Jose Rodel Clapano, Marvin Sy, Rey Galupo, Evelyn Macairan, Jennifer Rendon