Typhoon Haiyan leaves ‘serious implications’ for Philippines growth agenda

11 Feb 14
Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines last November, has ‘struck down’ economic activity in the country leaving serious implications for its growth agenda, budget secretary Florencio Abad has said

By Judith Ugwumadu | 11 February 2014

Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines last November, has ‘struck down’ economic activity in the country leaving serious implications for its growth agenda, budget secretary Florencio Abad has said.

Speaking yesterday, Abad said that, while rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts had been ‘well-accounted’ for in the Philippine Development Plan, the effects of the typhoon would be far-reaching.

‘The extent to which the typhoon struck down economic activity in several parts of the Visayas [islands] will have serious implications on the country’s growth agenda, far beyond the limits of Yolanda’s [Haiyan’s] destructive path,’ said Abad.

‘Public expenditure in 2014 will therefore respond both to the common development needs of the country’s broader population, as well as, the extraordinary requirements of Typhoon survivors as they rebuild their lives and communities.’

Abad confirmed that the Philippines’s budget department has released P17.69bn ($393m) since December to communities destroyed by the typhoon. 

Devastation caused by the typhoon killed over 6,000 people and left around 4 million homeless. The Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has estimated that, as of January 29, the total damage from Haiyan will total P39.8bn ($885m), of which P19.5bn ($433.6m) is damage to infrastructure and P20.2bn ($449.1m) damage to agriculture. 

Abad added that the government had been working continuously to expedite the rehabilitation and recovery process for all communities affected by Haiyan. 

‘Relief operations – which commenced as soon as logistical bottlenecks had been cleared – have run full throttle to ensure the safety and full recovery of survivors,’ he said.

Of the P17.69bn in funds released so far, P2.2bn ($48.9m) has been paid to the National Housing Authority to build new homes and provide adequate shelter assistance for displaced families. 

The budget secretary also said P5.72bn ($127m) had been devoted to efforts to restore infrastructure, including power distribution networks and water systems. 

‘The restoration of these services was especially time-sensitive, as the continued well-being of survivors were especially dependent on how quickly we could bring the power and water supply back up,’ Abad said.

In addition, there is a P1bn ($22m) fund for education and health services, P2.01bn ($44.6m) had made available for local government services and P2.87bn ($63.8m) channelled into agriculture and fishery services. 

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