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2 solons hail Duterte order to ensure swift calamity aid

TWO lawmakers on Tuesday welcomed the directive of President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte for government agencies to cut red tape in the release of much-needed relief and rehabilitation assistance for Filipinos affected by Typhoon Ulysses.

Ako Bisaya party-list Rep. Sonny Lagon and Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas lauded President Duterte for working on efficient ways to download the assistance to the people who have been severely affected by recent typhoons.

“We thank President Duterte for making a directive to ensure the swift downloading of relief and rehabilitation assistance to typhoon victims. We need to mobilize quick response in typhoon-hit areas,” said Lagon.

“The President’s team has been working very hard to address the problems brought by recent typhoons. Be safe Mr. President,” Lagon added.

“Time is crucial during calamities. Government assistance should be extended as soon as possible so that the rebuilding of lives and communities can start immediately,” Vargas for his part said.

President Duterte has ordered the creation of a task force to fast-track rehabilitation efforts for areas devastated by Typhoon Ulysses. He specifically directed the task force to cut the red tape and ensure there will be no delays in providing assistance to the calamity-stricken areas.

“It is unfortunate that too often, even the processing and release of emergency assistance falls victim to bureaucratic red tape. The President knows this and does not want it to happen,” Vargas said.

Typhoon Ulysses battered several parts of Luzon from November 11 to 12, causing massive flooding and damage to homes and infrastructure. As of November 15, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) recorded 69 persons who died as a result of the typhoon.

Over 1.1 million Filipinos have been affected by Typhoon Ulysses, while the estimated damage to agriculture and infrastructure was pegged at ₱1.19 billion and ₱469.7 million, respectively.

Lagon and Vargas urged his colleagues to allocate additional funding under the proposed P4.5-trillion national budget for 2021 for the rehabilitation of areas affected by Super Typhoon Rolly and Typhoon Ulysses.

Vargas, a vice chairman of the House appropriations committee, called the recovery and rehabilitation blueprint for the typhoon-hit areas as a “mini-Marshall Plan” that would address the long-term needs of the affected communities such as housing, relocation, agriculture, and employment. The Marshall Plan was the US government’s blueprint for the recovery of Europe after World War 2.

“With the mini-Marshall Plan for areas damaged by Super Typhoon Rolly and Typhoon Ulysses, the national government can rehabilitate the affected areas swiftly and efficiently. Rehabilitation will not be a piecemeal effort, but a comprehensive endeavor involving government agencies and local government units,” Vargas said.