Press Release
September 27, 2010

One Year After: Ondoy's Wake-Up Call Remains Unheeded

Senator Loren Legarda in a privilege speech a year after Ondoy asked how could it be that one year afterOndoy, Pepeng, and Santi, we still have people living in evacuation centers?

"What have we done with the money so far?"

"Initial reports indicate that since the change of administration, the Special National Public Reconstruction Commission (SNPRC), whose task, by virtue of Executive Order No. 838, was to oversee and raise funds for the rehabilitation of affected sectors has yet to convene."

"My office has been furnished by NDCC with a consolidated list of funding requests for rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts following typhoons Ondoy, Pepeng, and Frank. The first list involved a funding request of Php 14 billion pesos. These requests have been referred to SNPRC as of February 2010."

"The second list totaled Php10.8 billion. As in the first list, all of the requests were marked "pending with the Commission."

"These requests involved funding for "early recovery and rehabilitation" projects of DSWD and reconstruction projects of DPWH. It is ironic that twelve months after Ondoy, the "early recovery" projects have yet to be funded.

"We would like to know how this Commission, along with the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation as its private sector partner, has helped in the rehabilitation effort. We certainly hope to build-on their initial gains."

"This is the very least we can do in honor of the people who, by their death, injury or damage in Ondoy, Pepeng, and Santi, would have hopefully issued a wake-up call for everyone."

"What have we done since? This is certainly not an academic question. This is a question that will help us achieve our most urgent objective of ensuring preparedness when the next calamity strikes, " the Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change asserted. One year since, is the loss of nearly 1,000 lives not enough to convince our NDCC-member agencies particularly the DND, DSWD, DILG, DPWH and DBM that action is long overdue?

"One month from Ondoy's onslaught, Congress, on 14 October 2009, passed Joint Resolution No. 5. This resolution authorized the use of unprogrammed funds in an amount not to exceed Php12 Billion for relief operations, rehabilitation, and reconstruction of areas affected."

Legarda cited initial information gathered by her office indicates that a total of USD 409.5 million worth of direct loans acquired from :

1. Japan International Cooperation Agency for the Short-Term Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project;

2. Instituto de Credito Oficial & Deutsch Bank S.A.E. for a Bridge Construction and Replacement Project; and

3. World Bank for Food Crisis Response Development Policy Operation and Supplemental Support for Post-Typhoon Recovery.

"This is in addition to the Php 14.8 billion that had been released to various departments in relation to emergency response, relief and rehabilitation efforts for Ondoy and Pepeng."

"As of August 31, 2010, 27 evacuation centers continue to exist in many barangays along the shores of the Laguna de Bay and several areas in Region IV-A, Region III, and Region II. These serve as "temporary homes" to 1,783 families or 9,271 people. DSWD estimates that 42% of them are children."

"They are just in Antipolo, San Mateo, Angono, Pililia and thousands more in Pampanga, Pangasinan, Zambales, and Benguet."

Legarda said the survey findings contained in the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) Report produced by the International Organization for Migration and local governments from April to 31 May 2010 covering 31 evacuation centers in Region 4-A, Region 3, NCR, and CAR which hosted 12,947 evacuees are as follows:

1. 40% of the evacuation centers were found to be susceptible to climate hazards and risks or further flooding;

2. 58% of the evacuees did not know of government relocation plans for them;

3. 61% of the sites reported that they did not have electricity;

4. 36% (4,771 people) of the total displaced population are accommodated in makeshift shelters, mostly in Region III.

"We recognize that funding is a major problem. But that problem is multiplied many times over if funding already available is not used in a timely manner. The losses will be enormous if the programs we undertake do not respond to the lessons learned from the past disasters."

"Rehabilitation and reconstruction are necessary, but risk reduction is also as much a MUST. Our disaster risk reduction and management system needs to be more proactive, coherent, and effective. The quality of scientific data available to government agencies and local government units for predicting and forecasting disasters requires urgent improvement."

Legarda concluded, "Standing against the background of Ondoy, Pepeng, and Santi, we all know what we want. We want to be able to say: "We will be prepared the next time around. This is a matter of survival."

News Latest News Feed