Monday, December 16, 2013

Urban Poor Groups say, “Build Back Better in Disaster Areas”

Urban Poor Associates
25-A Mabuhay Street, Brgy. Central, Q.C.          Telefax: 4264118          Tel.: 4264119 / 4267615
Ref:  Princess Asuncion-Esponilla      Mobile phone: 0908 1967450

17 December 2013. Urban poor groups composed of Urban Poor Alliance, Urban Poor Associates, Community Organizers Multiversity, and different people’s organizations believe the proper approach is build back better in disaster areas. Recovery must promote fairness and equity. Government must ensure that in the reconstruction process ordinary citizens and their communities will be involved.

The group held a forum entitled “Will We Build Back Better?” December 17 at the Ateneo De Manila. The purpose of the forum was to gather suggestions for ensuring national reconstruction following on Yolanda will be a success. The suggestions cover different aspects of reconstruction—land, houses, jobs, health, administrations of the work, necessary participants in the process.

The forum also remembered Panunuluyan. Ivy Pagute, community organizer and one of the UPA group who went to Tacloban for rapid-assessment said, “Usually every December we hold our annual event, Panunuluyan— which how Mary and Joseph search for a place where Jesus could be born. Because of devastation brought about by Typhoon Yolanda we won’t have one this year. However, this meeting reminds us almost a million people are looking for a home. This forum can be another form of a Panunuluyan because we are helping a million families to find a house. “

Before the program started the participants were asked to pray in silence while the recorded sounds of Typhoon Yolanda were playing. Participants and victims of Typhoon Yolanda were moved to tears.

Jeorgie Tenolete, President of Kabalikat sa Kaunlaran in Baseco, Tondo said, “When we visited Tacloban last December 6 it seemed that nothing had changed since the typhoon a month earlier. The survivors of typhoon Yolanda should be consulted. Resettlement sites should not overcrowd and jobs must be given importance.”

Celia Santos, one of the speakers and Advocacy Officers for UDHA Amendments suggested, “Barangays of different affected areas must do an assessment and planning for their short and long term rebuilding activities together with the residents. Funders and national government can now directly provide funds to barangays based on their identify needs. The barangay must allow active participation of its constituents so that all funds for rehabilitation plan will be accounted by the community.”

The speakers of the forum were from World Bank, NGOs, Urban Planner, People’s Organizations, government and the Church. The participants selected the top five suggestions that will be given to the President and his assistants.

Alice Murphy, UPA Field Director concluded, “we are doing this to make sure that the government acknowledges the best practices in the reconstruction. We want worldwide acknowledged best practices to ensure that the majority of Yolanda survivors to be served with integrity and that all their needs will be given priority.”


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