TACLOBAN CITY, (PNA) -– Leyte’s recovery came faster after super typhoon Yolanda with the rehabilitation of basic public facilities of the affected towns, which revitalized operations and services by local government units through the Rehabilitation Assistance for Yolanda (RAY) projects of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
RAY is DILG’s part in the Aquino administration’s post-Yolanda “Build Back Better” response to what was described as the strongest typhoon ever to make landfall in history.
RAY came in two batches. RAY 1 involves the repair of provincial, city and municipal buildings, public markets and civic centers while RAY 2 refers to the repair and reconstruction of barangay halls, day care centers and civic centers.
Two years after the catastrophe, the DILG regional office reported that in Leyte province, 90 of the 99 special projects identified under RAY 1 have already been completed. The remaining nine are on-going projects.
For the provinces in Eastern Visayas, Leyte towns received the biggest funding with allocation amounting to PHP801.80 million or about 45 percent of the total rehabilitation fund. Then DILG Secretary Mar Roxas saw the need for the immediate rehab of these facilities to help hard-hit towns regain their capacity to deliver basic services and respond to the needs of their community.
Checks for the RAY 1 funds were personally handed over by Roxas in one of his frequent visits to Leyte in April 2014, as the whole province and the region recover from the debris of Yolanda.
Meanwhile, more than a year after the RAY 1 funds were released, DILG gave assistance to villages for various rehabilitation projects under RAY 2. Villages from 26 towns in Leyte got a total of PHP449.15 million to repair vital village facilities.
In the October 2015 report by the DILG, 87 identified projects are already completed while 106 more still ongoing. All of the funds have already been released to the local government units for the implementation of reconstruction projects.
“Our towns now have new facilities, while some got some facelifts. All that is mainly due to the help of the national government through the RAY. With the immediate rehab of municipal facilities, our LGUs were able to dispense their responsibilities in building back their communities,” Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla said.
Majority of on-going projects now are for the different identified villages in the province.
On November 8, Yolanda hit Eastern Visayas, leaving about 6,200 people dead and nearly 2,000 others missing. It also destroyed or severely damaged 1.1 million houses and destroyed vital LGU facilities. This year, Leyte and the rest of the provinces in Central Philippines will mark the 2nd Yolanda Commemoration on November 8, 2015. (PNA)
FFC/SQM/AHLETTE C. REYES