Richard Bolt, director of ADB Philippine Country Office.
Richard Bolt, director of ADB Philippine Country Office.

MANILA, Oct. 19 (PNA) — The KALAHI-CIDSS and Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) 9175 projects aimed at restoring and rehabilitating areas devastated by Typhoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) are nearing 50 percent completion, an official from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Monday during the JFPR Forum.

”By the end of the year, we’ll be about 50 percent implemented (for both projects: KALAHI-CIDDS and JFPR), which is consistent with our projections. We are basically on target,” Richard Bolt, director of ADB Philippine Country Office, told the reporters on the sidelines of the JFPR Forum entitled “Responding to Disasters in Asia”.

“The most important thing is that we are always on plan,” added Bolt as he referred to the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP).

Bolt noted that 50 percent of the implementation of projects is proceeding under the CRRP, which was prepared and coordinated by Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (OPARR).

According to the Recovery Plan, a four-year time frame for reconstruction is typical of disasters with a kind of devastating magnitude like “Yolanda”.

”With a situation like that, it usually takes a year to really get the reconstruction effort going,” said Bolt, noting that the recovery phase is in progress and now coincides with the reconstruction phase.

ADB has provided wide-ranging assistance, with more than US$ 900 million committed funding for immediate relief and post-disaster rehabilitation and reconstruction in areas heavily affected by the onslaught of 2013’s Typhoon “Yolanda”, US$ 650 million of which has already been disbursed.

ADB assistance for “Yolanda”-affected areas

The ADB funding covers the entire Yolanda-stricken areas including Regions 4B, 6, 7, and 8.

The ADB funded the US$ 500-million Emergency Assistance for Relief and Recovery from Typhoon “Yolanda”.

Aside from the US$ 500 million budget support, ADB also financed a community-driven development project implemented through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) called “KALAHI-CIDSS” by providing a US$ 372 million loan.

KALAHI-CIDDS restores basic social services through a community-led development process of rebuilding infrastructure which will benefit 6000 villages, equivalent to four million people.

”Ninety percent of the projects are administered by the communities so it is difficult to commit corruption with over a thousand families watching over you,” said Benilda Redaja, national program manager of KALAHI-CIDDS.

Furthermore, a US$ 20 million grant provided by the JFPR and administered by ADB, commonly referred to as JFPR 9175, seeks to restore and rehabilitate water systems, school buildings, health centers, rural access roads, and power distribution systems to provide electricity to health and education centers.

According to Hiroki Kasahara, senior financing partnerships specialist in ADB Office of Cofinancing Operations, some accomplishments of the JFPR 9175 include rehabilitation and improvement of solar lights, provision of day care center for children of working mothers, and integrating disaster training in the school curriculum, among others.

Other ADB-supported ongoing projects include “Agrarian Reform Communities Project II”, which provides agrarian reform for communities; “Social Protection Support Project”, which offers conditional cash transfers through Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program; and “Road Improvement and Institutional Development Project”, which focuses on road reconstruction work such as Palo-Carigara-Ormoc Road and Daang Maharlika Road.

Possible ADB-assistance for Typhoon “Lando”

With the Typhoon “Lando” currently hounding the Philippines, ADB Country Director Bolt told reporters that ADB is “on stand-by”.

“We’re ready to help if requested (by the government),” the country director added.

As for the amount of assistance, ADB said it will still monitor the assessment of damages and losses to identify the needs of the affected areas. (PNA)