Palace streamlines rehab of storm-hit communities

Manila, Philippines -- Nearly a year after typhoon Pablo hit parts of Visayas and Mindanao, the government is moving to hasten the rehabilitation of the storm-devastated communities.

President Benigno S. Aquino III has designated Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras to lead a task force that will streamline efforts to rebuild the areas ravaged by the powerful typhoon last year.

In Memorandum Circular No. 53, all government agencies were also directed to support the full implementation of Task Force Pablo's rehabilitation plans and programs in Pablo-affected communities.

Aquino wanted to ensure the lives of the typhoon victims would return to normal ''at the earliest possible time.''

Typhoon Pablo left a trail of death and destruction in parts of the Visayas and Mindanao, especially in the worst-hit provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental in December 2012. It was considered the most powerful typhoon to hit Mindanao.

Task Force Pablo was consequently created to develop the comprehensive Pablo Rehabilitation Plan (PRP) that will coordinate the rehabilitation program for displaced families.

''The Office of the Cabinet Secretary (OCS) is hereby designated as Chair of the Task Force to ensure proper implementation, management, monitoring, evaluation and integration of the social services, infrastructure, resettlement, and livelihood rehabilitation plans, policies, and programs,'' the memorandum read.

''The Task Force is directed to work with all concerned stakeholders, including the LGUs with jurisdiction over Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental, in the full implementation of the PRP, and to regularly submit reports to the Office of the President,'' it added.

The President noted that there was a need to ensure full support to and cooperation with the Task Force for the successful completion of its tasks and functions.

The same order authorized the member-agencies of the task force to charge against their budget any amount necessary for the implementation of rehabilitation program.

The powerful typhoon brought heavy rains and floods in Mindanao, leaving more than 1,000 people dead. Damage to property reportedly exceeded P37 billion.

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