A Church official warned on the possible misuse of funds for the rehabilitation of communities hit by Typhoon Yolanda as election draws nearer.
“The problem here is that 2016 is fast approaching,” Caritas Philippines executive secretary Edwin Gariquez said in a Manila Standard report, criticizing the Aquino government for its delays in releasing the funds for the rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts.
Gariquez said, “when are they going to release the funds? Are they waiting to release it until 2016? What is sad is they may be waiting for 2016 before they release the funds. That’s not good. They may be waiting for 2016 so they could give away this big money. That should not happen.”
The Philippine government recently vowed to fast track the rehabilitation of the Yolanda-hit communities, following a report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons that criticized the slow efforts of the government.
UN special rapporteur Chaloka Beyani said typhoon survivors “found themselves having to relocate two or more times since their initial displacement. Many families remain housed in collective ‘bunkhouses’ that do not meet necessary minimum standards for the provision of basic needs and services and create numerous safety and protection challenges.”
Beyani observed the same when he looked into the conditions of the government’s supposed permanent housing. He attributed the slow rehabilitation efforts to the lack of consultation with typhoon survivors and the lack of cooperation between the local and national government.
Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon said this should raise alarm on how the rehabilitation program is faring.
He said in a Manila Times report that “there is an immediate need for Congress to review how the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and our national government agencies are handling the rehabilitation funds.”
The Manila Times reported that P18.89 billion out of the P3 trillion 2016 budget is allocated for the reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts in Typhoon Yolanda-affected communities.
Typhoon Yolanda hit the eastern and central provinces of the country in 2013. It is considered as the strongest typhoon ever to make landfall in recent history.