TACLOBAN CITY – The Japanese government formally concluded it’s nearly $5 billion assistance for areas badly affected by supertyphoon “Yolanda” in the region, over three years after the catastrophe occurred.
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) headquarters’ sectional representative Atsutoshi Hirabayashi voiced optimism that all recovery projects will be sustained with all mechanisms in place by concerned government agencies and local government units.
“The presentations assure us that these projects will be sustainable through manpower capacity development, risk reduction management initiatives, and future development plans,” Hirabayashi said after the project closure meeting on Wednesday (Jan.18) at the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) regional office here.
After the post-Yolanda emergency assistance for victims, the Japanese aid agency identified 15 quick impact projects for recovery and rehabilitation.
Among these projects are oyster racks and marine bio-toxin equipment in Leyte; submersible fish cages for Guiuan, Easter Samar; multi-purpose livelihood building in Leyte; two-storey “piloti” type processing plant in Leyte; and classroom rehabilitation in several areas hit by Yolanda.
“JICA was instrumental in providing technical assistance to our LGUs and regional agencies in preparing more resilient plans and projects,” said NEDA Eastern Visayas Regional Director Bonifacio Uy.
The official noted that “having experienced a similar situation back in 2011 when Japan was struck by a tsunami, JICA worked together with Department of Public Works and Highways in the conceptual planning of the road heightening and tide embankment project.”
The 27.3-kilometer tide embankment project stretches from Barangay Diit in Tacloban City to Brgy. Cabuynan in Tanauan town, Leyte.
The four-meter high structure was pushed through by the Aquino administration after the 2013 storm surges wipe out neighborhoods in Leyte.
NEDA also lauded JICA for extended assistance to Tacloban City and nearby towns of Palo and Tanauan in the updating and integration of disaster risk reduction plans in their comprehensive land use plans.
JICA is a key development partner of the Philippines since 1960s. The Japanese aid agency has also been providing the Philippines on disaster risk reduction through capacity building, as well as provision of infrastructure and equipment to mitigate disasters.