President Duterte orders completion of post-‘Yolanda’ relocation in Tacloban by March

TACLOBAN CITY-- President Rodrigo Duterte ordered government offices to transfer all the 14,433 Yolanda-hit families in this city from coastal communities to resettlement sites by March.

"Government agencies should transfer all families to permanent houses and provide all needed services by March," the President said in his 40-minute impromptu speech late Wednesday afternoon at the New Hope Village in Sta. Elena village here.

The Chief Executive promised to return to the city in March to check on the accomplishment of relocation for super typhoon Yolanda resettlement sites.

The National Housing Authority (NHA) reported that as of January 24, at least 5,617 housing units have been occupied and turned over to beneficiaries.

Out of the 14,433 target units for construction in 19 sites in the city, 8,106 have been completed and 3,141 are still ongoing.

From the original completion target of July 2017, he asked government officials to get it done by March.

President Duterte urged concerned officials, including Cabinet members, to resign if they failed to provide the basic needs of relocated families.

These include provisions of electricity, water, livelihood, access road and livable houses for badly-hit families.

"I encourage you to make five wooden crosses and ask Cabinet members to carry those crosses and walk around here if they fail," the President said, eliciting laughter from the crowd.

He recalled how he was disappointed to find out during his visit on November 8 last year that only 28 families were transferred to government housing projects.

"I was not really pleased because after three years, that was the only accomplishment of the government," he told the crowd. "I was supposed to return here last December, but I was not able to make it because I was very busy. I finally decided to check today to see how they fair on this job."

NHA Eastern Visayas Regional Rizalde Mediavillo vowed to meet the deadline when reached for comments. "We will do our best efforts. If we have to work overtime, we have to do it."

City Mayor Cristina Romualdez thanked the President for pushing government officials to work.

"His presence is a clear indication that the national government is here with us to share our efforts to achieve self sustaining communities that will nurture future generations of Tacloban," the mayor said.

Prior to the President's speech, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco presented the Duterte administration's accomplishments on post-Yolanda recovery since November.

The Chief Executive also led the ceremonial awarding certificate of eligibility of lot ownership and livelihood kits to selected beneficiaries.

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. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency