Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
A recent policy note from state think tank, Philippine Institute for Development Studies, urged government to reduce the share of public funds allocated for the reconstruction of private properties damaged in natural disasters and to instead strengthen the capacity of the private sector to address damages.
“The government should reduce the share of public funds allocated to private properties. Given that the housing sector is largely private, the fact that it is receiving the bulk of resources may possibly be at the expense of more critical projects. Instead of allocating huge funds to it, the government should consider strengthening the role of the private sector in addressing damaged properties,” said the policy note.
To illustrate the extent of public spending for private properties, the state policy research body said that out of the total budget of P10.5 billion for post-disaster budget for areas affected by Typhoon Pablo in 2012, P4.2 billion was allocated for in-city housing projects of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and P4.1 billion of the resettlement projects of the National Housing Authority. The same was seen in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda in which P75.7 billion out of a total budget of P170.9 billion was allocated for resettlement.
PIDS adds that the program outcomes for post disaster housing have not been encouraging despite the huge budgets. It cited issues NHA had on the completion of targets and the delivery of housing units to target beneficiaries and the case of Typhoon Yolanda where merely 30,000 out of the 205,000 required housing units have been completed.
The question if our government should continue spending billions on the reconstruction of homes and resettlement efforts after natural disasters is a valid one that should be discussed by policy makers as our country continuously braces itself for disasters that we cannot stop, and will definitely strike multiple times a year. We should at least consider spending at least a part of those billions on figuring out how vulnerable areas can be protected so we don't have to rebuild every time disaster strikes.*