TACLOBAN CITY – An official from the business sector, appointed as regional coordinator for storm rehabilitation and recovery in Eastern Visayas is eyeing to complete the post-Yolanda regional master rehabilitation and recovery plan (MRRP) within this month.
Robert Castañares, regional governor of the Eastern Visayas Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EVCCI), said that for Tacloban City alone, they are targeting to receive the final draft copy of the plan on February 7.
“For Tacloban, we will start the deliberation of their plan next week. We expect to get the local plan from Eastern Samar, Samar and Leyte provinces in the next few days. The regional plan will have to be consolidated with the national plan,” Castañares said.
Castanares was appointed January 31 by Presidential Assistant on Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR) Secretary Panfilo Lacson as full-time regional coordinator.
“Hopefully we will be able to complete the regional master plan by end of February and present the blueprint to Secretary Lacson by first week of March. We will be asking local government units and national government agencies to list down projects that are deliverables,” he told said.
The MRRP will contain the list of deliverables in key result areas to include social, economic, infrastructure and environment with specific projects, schedules and indicative budget as well as functions of national government, local government and concerned stakeholders in attaining the plan.
Castañares, who has been known for critiquing slow economic progress in the region, said they will make sure that substantial accomplishment will be realized by June 2016.
“I am echoing Sec.Lacson’s goal to have substantial compliance by June 30, 2016, say 80-85%. We will be leaving some work to be followed through by the local government units so that they will not lose their self esteem by relying completely on the national government,” he added.
The PARR regional office will be set up within the month at the Leyte Chamber of Commerce and Industry office at the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Center (SMED) Center.
“Our focus will be on policy issues and consolidate reports from local and national government offices,” he added.
Castañares urged the local government to focus infrastructure to “improve the quality of life” and also keep agriculture as a priority considering that 90% of the population in Region 8 rely on farming for their livelihood.