EV LGUs have until March to finish post-Yolanda rehab

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File photo of Tacloban City a month after Supertyphoon Yolanda struck in November 2013. (Bernard Testa, InterAksyon)

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines — Local government units in Eastern Visayas have until March to finish the P2.52-billion rehabilitation of facilities damaged by super typhoon Yolanda in 2013 or see the funds revert to the central government.

Department of Interior and Local Government regional director Maribel Sacendoncillo said all bottlenecks had been addressed during a recent meeting with local officials who committed to finishing all projects within the first quarter of 2018.

Of the 2,287 Recovery Assistance on Yolanda projects supposed to be implemented in three phases since 2014, 229 are still ongoing and 145 have not yet started.

Under the first batch, the national government invested for the repair of buildings owned by 61 towns and cities. The second batch was focused on rebuilding village facilities, and the third funded the repair of halls of justice, public terminals, community centers, and spillover projects under the first two phases.

“All these projects must have to be completed by March 2018 otherwise money will be returned to the national treasury. There’s no other option,” Sacendoncillo warned.

Among the causes of delay are the late submission of revised detailed engineering designs documents, realignment of un-utilized funds, land and right of way acquisition issues, partially damaged buildings were used by other government offices, procurement delays, among others.

“The most serious was political differences between the mayor and members of the town council. The local legislative branch refused to issue an authority to the mayor to enter an agreement with DILG. We have to intervene to address this concern,” Sacendoncillo explained.