TACLOBAN CITY- Tacloban City stands-out among all other implementers of “Yolanda” rehabilitation projects.
Thus said Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, Michael Dino in his inspirational message during the 5th commemorative anniversary program of super typhoon Yolanda on November 8, 2018.
Dino, who represented President Rodrigo Duterte, said that one of the best things notable in the city’s advancement after the super typhoon, is the modernization of the public transport system.
“For one, electronic jeepneys became visible and had started their operation in the city,” he said.
“Tacloban City is the first in the country to have a modern and advanced transport system with the implementation of the e-jeep through the initiative of the Department of Transportation or DOTr,” he further bared.
“With this, we were not only able to provide the routes, but also franchising was made open so that people in the resettlement areas would be served,” he added.
Dino continued that from the initial 45 units granted by the Department of Transportations, there are now more than a hundred e-jeepneys serving additional routes in Tacloban.
“This will give more income to operators and drivers as this kind of jeep needs lesser maintenance cost considering that they do not need gasoline or diesel,” Dino added.
According to him, aside from the economic benefit and the convenience the e-jeepneys provide, pollution is also reduced, thereby improving the health and living condition of the people.
Aside from the economic activities, the guest of honor also assured the Taclobanons about the Malasakit Center at the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC), of which Dino echoed the President’s statement that this is a one-stop shop that would give financial benefits to the marginalized sector of the society.
He further said the center will take care of everything a sick person needs because the President is giving a monthly P10 million Malasakit fund to said center, as he wants a zero balance payment.
Finally, Dino disclosed that one of the biggest infrastructure spending from the national government is to the tune of P9.6 billion storm surge protection project, still as part of the Yolanda recovery program.
The project is more than 28-kilometer project that stretches from the shoreline of Barangay Diit, Tacloban to Palo and up to Tanauan, both in Leyte. This will provide protection from storm surges of up to 30,800 houses and buildings.
“With the Yolanda experience, we can better withstand life’s challenges and continue to recover swiftly not just from calamities, but also from the difficulties we encounter in our everyday lives. The experience made us stronger and tougher,” he stressed.
During his commemorative speech, the Malacañang official also recalled his major role in the rehabilitation efforts of the city particularly on the resettlement areas.
He recalled how he sought help of government organizations as well as international organizations whose help cannot be discounted in restoring then the electricity, water and transportation of about 4,000 Taclobanons who are now settled in government housing units.
With the government interventions pouring in, PA Dino said Tacloban is not only being rehabilitated but being open to modernization.
The Yolanda Commemorative event with the theme, “Paglaum” (hope), indeed depicted Taclobanons continued hope for the total recovery of the city and of their lives.
Meanwhile, in her welcome message, Mayor Cristina Romualdez recalled the sad memories and the hardships that the Taclobanons experienced during the biggest disaster in history as she acknowledged the generosity of the national and international institutions that contributed to the fast recovery of the city from the damages Yolanda has brought.
“We memorialize the loss, the grief and the hardship that we faced last November 8, 2013, and today we also honor the generosity of those who helped us recover, and most importantly, we celebrate the resilience of the survivors of the strongest typhoon,” Mayor Romualdez pointed out.
The commemorative program held November 8 at the Tacloban City Astrodome were witnessed by some government officials, representatives of both national and international organizations and Yolanda survivors, themselves who now are being called as resilient Taclobanons. (GTT/Leyte)