MANILA, July 26, 2015—Citing the substandard temporary shelters in Tacloban and the misuse of funding for mangrove reforestation in Samar and Leyte, representatives from various advocacy groups have joined forces in denouncing the Aquino administration over its alleged “misuse and misappropriation” of funds supposedly earmarked for the Yolanda rehabilitation program.
In a recent forum, NASSA/Caritas Philippines, the Development and Peace, Freedom from Debt Coalition, Tacloban City’s Maunlad Homeowners Association, and Focus on the Global South revealed that the Philippine government has incurred a total of Php 126.2 billion in debts after contracting loans from multilateral financial institutions.
“… this boils down to poor participation and lack of consultation with the people. Poor transparency and lack of accountability—no investigation of abuse and misuse of funds and Yolanda relief assistance,” they explained, using data from a study initiated by the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) and NASSA/Caritas Philippines, together with other organizations involved in programs for Yolanda survivors.
Moreover, they expressed lament that financial requirements of the rehabilitation have become the government’s pretext in accessing loan obligations.
Offended by what they see as its “sluggish implementation,” the groups went on to blast President Benigno S. Aquino III (PNoy) and urged him to finish all Yolanda rehabilitation works before his term ends in 2016.
Largest rehab program
NASSA/Caritas Philippines is the social development arm of the Catholic Church in the country.
With a budget of Php P1.02 billion during the first two years of the implementation, it heads the largest rehabilitation program for Yolanda survivors called REACHPhilippines which is expected to run for three years.
On the other hand, CCODP supports projects like the construction of the Pope Francis Village, an in-city relocation site in Tacloban City, among many others. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)