‘Yolanda’ Rehab czar: Pope will see ‘different level’ of improvement

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MANILA, June 18, 2014— The government foresees significant improvement in its rehabilitation works in typhoon ‘Yolanda’-hit areas by the time Pope Francis visits the country next year.

“There will be a massive infusion of resources the moment the president approves the rehabilitation plans in these areas…He (Pope) will see a different level (of improvement), depending on the date of his visit,” Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo Lacson said.

He said the government is doing everything to help the affected survivors recover and rebuild their lives.

“I cannot measure the percentage of recovery by that time, it depends of the movement of the implementation,” Lacson said in a Church-organized forum.

The Aquino administration has received flak for its supposed slow management of post-‘Yolanda’ recovery in Eastern Visayas. (Photo: CBCP News)

So far, the rehabilitation czar said, the recovery in the affected 171 cities and municipalities can only be placed at 25 percent.

Lacson, however, assured that the government – both local and national – will prepare well once the official details of the papal visit have been released.

The Holy Father earlier confirmed his plans to visit the Philippines in January next year, particularly in areas devastated by ‘Yolanda’ last November.

Despite stopping short of giving assurance of a complete recovery by the time of the papal visit, Lacson said the government cannot be accused of being “slow” in its efforts.

“If you are being rated, you look at standards in other countries. That is why I think we are not lagging behind,” said the former senator.

He also noted how it took New Orleans and Haiti four years to recover from hurricane ‘Katrina’ and the 2010 magnitude 7.0 earthquake, respectively, while eight years were needed before rehabilitation was completed in Banda Aceh, Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami. (CBCPNews)

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