News / Asia

Philippines Tries to Attract Private Sector Funds for Rebuilding

A man is silhouetted as he builds a wooden house in an area destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan, in Palo November 19, 2013.
A man is silhouetted as he builds a wooden house in an area destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan, in Palo November 19, 2013.
Reuters
The Philippines is compiling a typhoon reconstruction plan, but it still needs to win budget support from Congress and attract funds from the private sector and donors with ideas likely to shape President Benigno Aquino's legacy.
 
Aquino, who was criticized for the slow start to relief efforts for more than four million people displaced by one of the strongest storms ever to make landfall, faces the task of rebuilding at least 1.2 million houses, 600 schools and 500 hospitals and clinics destroyed or damaged by super typhoon Haiyan.
 
The government said on Friday the death toll had risen to 4,919, with 1,582 people missing.
 
It is holding meetings with the private sector and international aid agencies before submitting, possibly next week, a supplementary budget to Congress to fund recovery and reconstruction estimated to be as large as $5.8 billion.
 
“The problem with the discussion on the supplemental budget is we are rushing the funds but we still do not know what the plan is,” said Malou Tiquia, president of political strategy consultancy Publicus Asia.
 
Manila has set priorities such as shelter, resettlement and rebuilding livelihoods, yet the plan lacks details the private sector and foreign aid agencies need to determine how they can help in the long term.
 
“We're calling on government to provide strong leadership in developing that recovery framework,” said Orla Murphy, regional humanitarian manager at Oxfam, adding that foreign aid agencies could help devise rebuilding plans.
 
“This recovery is going to take years, because it is not only building back, it's building back better, looking at the hazard profile,” Murphy said.
 
A scandal over lawmakers' misuse of so-called pork barrel funds had already become the biggest crisis of Aquino's three-year rule, hurting his reform and anti-corruption agenda, before the storm smashed into the central Philippines on Nov. 8 and exposed the government's lack of preparation.
 
Safe Sites
 
However, the typhoon devastation could also bring his redemption.
 
“The monster disaster could offer him an opportunity to regain his popularity,” said Earl Parreno, a political analyst. “As long as things are moving and people are seeing concrete results on the ground, Aquino can weather criticism.”
 
Lawmakers have committed to work double time to pass the planned supplemental budget, which is mainly composed of $331.4 million of funding that had previously been set aside for the pork barrel funds that sparked the scandal; the Supreme Court this week ordered the return of such funds to the treasury.
 
Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson said construction had started on temporary accommodation and classrooms using tents and tarpaulins, but noted that work still needs to be done on identifying sites for permanent housing away from disaster-prone areas.
 
“The more lasting solution which is being formulated by the government is something we have to wait for, like resettlement areas,” said Manuel Pangilinan, chairman of the private-sector-led Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation, which launched a global campaign for donations via mobile phone in support of a U.N. drive to raise $310 million for the Philippines.
 
“They have to tell us where they will situate the no-build zones,” he said. “What is clear to us is that the victims cannot wait, for a plan from either us or from the government.”

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More