On this solemn day of remembrance, Tacloban City recalls November 8 as the day when Typhoon Yolanda changed our lives.
Four years after, we still observe every 8th of November as a solemn day to commemorate the tragic loss of our loved ones. We despair for the passing of family or friends, but at the same time, we feel enormously grateful for the outpour of love and solidarity.
We also offer this day to the generous and selfless persons who helped our city recover and rebuild itself.
To the overwhelming aid from foreign governments, private organizations and non-government organizations all around the world—we cannot name everyone, but thank you for doing life changing work here in Tacloban. Indeed, the worst of times can bring the best out of our countrymen and our foreign friends.
And to our President, then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, damo nga salamat for being the first to come to our aid with your medical team straight from Davao. This anecdote of a mayor from another island, marching into our devastated city will never be forgotten. Mr. President, we are grateful for your compassion and big heart for the Taclobanons and the people of Eastern Visayas.
Today, we relive the despair, pain, gratitude, solidarity and hope. We remember the 8th of November, because that day has truly defined us as a people and as a city—because we need to look back for us to move forward.
Thus, more than anything else, today is a day of reflection. Ironically, the strongest typhoon to hit our country brought lessons on governance, disaster preparedness, even personal life lessons.
We were never the same after Typhoon Yolanda. We were changed by tragedy, hopefully for the better.
Bangon: Road to Recovery
Four years into the road to recovery, rehabilitation efforts have been punctuated by the national government’s renewed thrust to accelerate rehabilitation. Since last year, we have seen a great improvement in the transfer of displaced families. Upon instruction of President Rodrigo Duterte, concerned government agencies mobilized to fast track the overdue rehabilitation.
Please allow me to share with you our Yolanda Recovery report:
- For NHA housing project:
- Between 2014 to 2016, 5,445 houses were completed
- At present 10,677 units completed
- 9,538 are ready for occupancy
- 5,580 are already occupied
On housing projects by NGOs—1,635 are already occupied.
Thus, 7,215 families were transferred and we are prepared to move more families in the future.
- 628 street lights have been installed by Tacloban City
Secondary lines were shouldered by the City to provide electricity to the North
- Six water tankers deliver 130 tons of water to the resettlement sites daily from 2014 up to the present.
DPWH has contracted a private company to augment delivery of water to Tacloban North.
Lastly, we are also working on ways to install pipelines to the North for permanent supply of water. And we have submitted to the Office of the Cabinet Secretary proposals to solve water shortage in the north
- We thank Presidential Assistant Mike Dino for ensuring the donation of 6 Ceres buses that are a big help in transporting students and workers from Tacloban North to the City proper for free;
We also thank LTFRB for approving our request for 45 new public transport franchises for jeepneys, multi-cabs or buses plying to and from the north.
- The City Government Satellite Office located at Brgy. Sto. Nino is already open—we are ready to serve in Tacloban North!
A police station will soon rise in New Kawayan to secure the peace and order in the north;
A community talipapa is already operational in North Hill Arbor.
We have 13 day care centers built in different resettlement sites
- On health—the City has fully functional health centers in Tacloban North: Suhi, Ridgeview, GMA Kapuso, Brgy. Sto. Nino, Brgy. Tagpuro, Brgy. Cabalawan and Brgy. Camansihay.
8. On Livelihood—with the help of government agencies such as DOLE, TESDA, DTI and Dept. of Agriculture, more families were given livelihood start-up kits for sari-sari stores, rice retailing, and livestock farming to name a few.
- In total, the City has 13,262 livelihood beneficiaries. More livelihood funding at P94 million has been earmarked for implementation for the months to come.
9. On Education—six schools are already operational with 3,759 students enrolees in elementary and secondary education. Six more schools will open that will serve as much as ten thousand students.
Step by step, we are realizing our vision of a new township in Tacloban North. With the basic utilities, institutions and services in place, living a regular and convenient life in Tacloban North will be possible. Tacloban North will be a vibrant community to live in.
Better: Building Resilient Communities
Simultaneous with recovery, we are laying the foundation for rebuilding resilient communities.
The lessons of Yolanda will all be in vain if we don’t build our development agenda on the Yolanda experience. Thus, Tacloban’s development agenda is grounded on resilience.
For Yolanda survivors, resilience is surviving one of the strongest typhoons in history, losing property and our loved ones, but regaining ground and starting all over again. It is recovering and rebuilding our lives, consciously keeping in mind the lessons we learned. For us, resilience is learning from the past and making learned and informed decisions as we move forward. Resilience is building back better.
- Last year, we launched the Community Climate Guide and Response (CCGR), an early warning system designed to deliver real time advisories to the general public including weather updates, DepEd advisories on suspension of classes, typhoon updates, flood and tsunami warnings, and evacuation center assignments by barangay.
As an interactive system, citizens can directly text or call CDRRMO, BFP, TCPO, and TACRU during emergency situations.
- Soon, closed-circuit television system or CCTVs will be installed all over the city. Through close monitoring by TOMECO, PNP, TACRU, monitoring and surveillance will be possible to prevent crimes and promote safety throughout the City.
- We started the New Beginnings Program, a local effort to support the National Campaign against drugs, criminality, corruption and terrorism. This is a drug rehabilitation program wherein drug users are provided with life coaches who help them recover.
As of August 2017, there are 4,402 individuals who voluntarily surrendered to the New Beginnings Drug Rehabilitation Program and 36 barangays were declared drug-free while 62 barangays were endorsed to PDEA for drug-clearing.
- Since 2008, I spearheaded the Comprehensive Livelihood and Entrepreneurial Program (CLEP) offer livelihood skills training including cosmetology, reflexology, food processing and cooking, dressmaking, baking, haircutting, bartending and tshirt printing.
- Almost ten years after, CLEP now has 9,718 graduates. Next year, we will be opening the Tacloban City Community Livelihood Enhancement Program building—a three-story green building with complete facilities and competent trainers, thanks to Salvation Army.
- The dumpsite facility at Brgy. Sto Nino will be closed to give way to the opening of the city’s sanitary landfill.
- Further, the City Government is pursuing the Tacloban City Reclamation and Coastal Protection Development Project as a disaster mitigating measure.
To complement this coastal protection measure, The Philippine Reclamation Authority and Tacloban City Government will pursue a project dubbed as One Resilient Team.
The project aims to minimize the probability of flooding through pond restoration and mangrove planting. At the end of the program, local flood resilience and strengthened natural ecosystem functions are expected.
- The revival of the business environment of the city has also been our priority. A week ago, we launched the Electronic Payment Portal and Online Assessment. Taxpayers can now pay their business permit, real property and transportation taxes and view their tax assessment online by accessing the EPP link found on Tacloban City’s website or by downloading the application from Google Play or App Store.
- To support the booming economic activity in the city, an intelligent transport system and traffic management is imperative.
The UP National Center for Transportation Studies Foundation Inc. will conduct a Transport and Traffic Management Study to develop a comprehensive plan. On November 14, we will be holding a Traffic Summit.
We are proud to show the world that for the past months, we have received various awards:
- The National Competitiveness Council (NCC) named Tacloban City as the Most Improved Local Government Unit among Highly Urbanized Cities.
- Our City was named as a finalist in the 2017 Most Business-Friendly LGU Award, City Level Category by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry for coming up with good governance reforms to promote trade and investments, employment, transparency, accountability and efficiency in delivering business services that help spur growth in the City.
- Last October 27, 2017, the City Cooperative Development and Livelihood Assistance Office (CCDLAO) was recognized as the National Best Performing LGU Cooperatives Development Office by the Cooperatives Development Authority. This is the second year that we have been recognized as Philippines’ Best Cooperative Office.
- The Tacloban City Police Office (TCPO) was named Best City Police Office and the Best Police Strategy Management Unit in Eastern Visayas.
- In 2016, the city was awarded a Seal of Good Financial Housekeeping for promoting transparency and accountability in local government operations. After that, the city aimed to perform better in the 2017 DILG Seal of Good Local Governance.
Indeed, the city passed the regional assessment on seven essential areas of local governance, namely: Financial Administration, Disaster Preparedness, Social Protection, Business Friendliness and Competitiveness, Environmental Management and Peace and Order.
After the national assessment held last September, the City Government was tagged as a potential national passer. Hopefully, the City Government will get its Seal of Good Local Governance in all seven areas.
The SGLG assessment covers the term of former Mayor Alfred and my first six months as mayor.
- And this November 22nd, Tacloban City will be given the Presidential Award for Child Friendly City at the Malacanang, a recognition for LGU-initiated programs protecting children.
Good governance, informed planning, resilient infrastructure, economic viability, social services, and disaster risk reduction capability are the building blocks that should be laid as we move towards resilience.
Even though advancing resilience is a long-term process that may take years, Tacloban City is inching its way. It is still a long road laden with challenges. But as long as we are focused, united and grounded, we can make progress.
Because of Typhoon Yolanda, we realized how strong we are as a family, as a community and as a city. Ironic but true—adversity brought out our collective strength and our dream of a better and resilient city.
On this day of remembrance, we memorialize those who passed away and still missing, we honor the sacrifices of the responders and recovery workers, and we relive the solidarity and strength we found after Typhoon Yolanda.
Because the ultimate memorial of Typhoon Yolanda is learning from the lessons and building resilient communities—that is how we honor the departed, the survivors and the recovery workers.
Thank you and good morning.
- LGU Tacloban, UP Center for Transportation Studies ink MOA on Traffic Study 15 November, 2017
- Tacloban City slates activities for Nat’l Children’s Month Celebration 13 November, 2017
- Transcript of Mayor Cristina G. Romualdez’s 4th Yolanda Commemoration Message, November 8, 2017 13 November, 2017
- Tacloban gets 2017 Seal of Good Governance 13 November, 2017
- Mayor Cristina lauds accelerated implementation of Yolanda rehab projects by Nat’l Gov’t 9 November, 2017
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