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.
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

Multimedia Brussels Schools, Metro Reopen Under Heavy Guard

City remains under the highest threat alert level due to what authorities have described as a 'serious and imminent' threat of attack

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

Americans Think About Strange Stuff at Thanksgiving

Millions of Americans are celebrating Thanksgiving, but they’re not necessarily thinking about turkey and stuffing

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs