Six months after Bohol was hit by the strongest earthquake in nearly 25 years, the island province is now creating an impact on her ‘early recovery’ projects and activities from the trauma and effects of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake. President Benigno Aquino III earlier praised Bohol’s early recovery and rehabilitation efforts. “We are impressed by the resilience” of Bohol, Aquino told the crowd that gathered on the grounds of earthquake-hit Cong. Natalio Castillo Memorial Hospital during his visit here last Feb. 24.
A total of 42,771 homes were destroyed in 17 hardest hit municipalities in Bohol, which include: Antequera, Balilihan, Buenavista, Calape, Carmen, Catigbian, Clarin, Corella, Cortes, Danao, Inabanga, Loon, Maribojoc, Sagbayan, San Isidro, Sevilla and Tubigon. The Provincial Government of Bohol immediately conducted disaster and relief operations to help the affected and displaced populace, assisted by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), together with international and local humanitarian organizations, NGOs and the affected local government units (LGUS).
“We are in the process of continuously fine-tuning our Post-Great Bohol Earthquake Rehabilitation Plan through a consultative process. Approvals have already been secured through proper channels – the Provincial Development Council, Sangguniang Panlalawigan, and the Regional Development Council,” explained Governor Edgar Chatto who is also the chairperson of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC). The governor further stated that support for funding of the Rehab Plan was transmitted to the President and Secretaries of Oversight Agencies (DILG, DBM, NDRRMC), NEDA, NGAs for their respective infrastructure projects, partners and stakeholders.
According to Atty. John Titus Vistal, Provincial Planning and Development Coordinator, it helped a lot that, through convergence with the DILG and the LGUs, data and information were gathered on damage cost estimates from various sources, which were used as basis in preparing the Rehabilitation Plan.
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Government of Japan, and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) helped finance the capability development of LGUs on disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) and climate change adaptation (CCA). The Local DRRM Councils of Bohol were also given the opportunity by the UNDP, AusAID and Government of Japan to undergo a technical exchange in Albay. In coordination with the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO), the UNDP further conducted Planning Workshops for LGUs to enable them to formulate their own Local DRRM Plans.
The Provincial Government of Bohol also obtained funding commitment from various agencies to facilitate early implementation of priority rehabilitation projects. Atty. Vistal said that the Early Recovery Cluster, which he heads, is regularly monitoring fund releases and implementation of projects listed in the Rehab Plan.
To ensure the implementation of rehabilitation projects, Atty. Vistal said that the PPDO makes it a point to integrate them into the Development Framework and Priority Programs and Projects of the province. He further reported that there is continued coordination and collaboration with other Clusters and Agencies for further recovery and rehabilitation efforts.