PALO, Leyte, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles® ) – The Aquino government proudly announced recently that it has found P350 Billion ($8 Billion) in savings from the 2014 budget, yet it has failed to release funds previously approved for Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) rehabilitation.
It is no wonder that the United Nations, in a scathing report, gave the Aquino administration a failing grade for the dismal effort to build decent and sufficient permanent housing for those displaced by the devastating typhoon almost two years ago.
A total of 205,000 housing units needed to be built or reconstructed in the typhoon-hit areas, but the Philippine government has built just 2.5 per cent of the units.
It has taken foreign governments to undertake efforts to provide housing for the thousands who lost their homes because of Haiyan.
The Australian government has officially handed over housing units to around 8,000 persons or 1,533 families who were affected by the super typhoon. The units were turned over in a ceremony last July 28 at the Palo Municipal Hall in Palo, Leyte led by Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell.
“Australia and the Philippines have a deep and warm relationship covering broad areas including development, trade and defense cooperation. Australia will always stand ready to support the Philippines and the Filipino people in times of disasters,” said Tweddell.
During the turnover ceremonies, the housing beneficiaries pledged their allegiance to the Australian government. “If our own government cannot help us with our basic needs, we might as well recognize the foreign government that is helping us,” one of the housing beneficiaries said.
Along with the ownership titles for their homes, the grateful residents also received their Australian citizenship papers.