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Duterte to gov’t agencies: Fast-track ‘Yolanda’ projects

MANILA, Philippines – President Rordrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday, November 8, ordered government agencies to speed up rehabilitation projects in Tacloban City, which was severely damaged by supertyphoon ‘Yolanda’ three years ago.
President Duterte, who expressed dissatisfaction on the slow pace of the ongoing rehabilitation works, on the spot ordered Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino to take charge of the rehabilitation projects. He said that after three years, only a number of bunkhouses and other shelter houses were built. “Dapat ‘yang Yolanda, one year after, tapos na ‘yan lahat. So you cut the red tape,” Duterte said.
“I ask everybody to cooperate, kindly cooperate. Do not delay government projects,” he added, noting that he will be back in December to inspect the progress of rehabilitation projects. The President likewise directed local government units to speed up processing permits such as building, electrical and business permits to spur development and progress. President Duterte also said he will come up with a regulation similar to Davao, wherein government permits are out in 72 hours.
“Ako, I do it 72 hours. Any business permit that you would like to apply, it’s 72 hours in Davao… Then, beyond that, you go to the Mayor and explain why you need more than 72 hours to process the papers,” Duterte said. The Chief Executive said there will be no room for laziness in his administration. “Alam mo, indolence is part of corruption. When you are paid for eight hours to do your work, mag-trabaho ka ng eight hours, do not shortchange the public,” Duterte said. In the same speech, President Duterte said he will no longer allow more than two bodyguards for government officials, citing the Alunan Doctrine. “I will return the Alunan Doctrine. The doctrine says that more than three bodyguards including you kung may armas ka, pangatlo ka, that’s a private army and you will be arrested,” he said.
“Wala akong pakialam kung sinong governor ka o mayor. We go back to the simple days of you can have one or two,” he added. Duterte also warned the police to do their job properly. “‘Di kita papalusutin. But lahat ng pulis na nagpasubo sa trabaho, they will have my protection and I will not allow a single policeman to go to prison just because he was doing his duty. Tandaan ninyo ‘yan,” he said. The President also assured that the typhoon victims will receive emergency assistance worth P5,000 from the Department of Social Welfare and Development and another P5,000 from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)’s livelihood assistance III.
Earlier, President Duterte, together with two survivors, laid a wreath to the grave of one of the victims of the tragedy to demonstrate his sympathy and honor to those who perished. After the wreath laying, President Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo lighted a candle to show respect to those who died from the supertyphoon. Typhoon survivors and members of their respective families and friends, also offered flowers and candles to their dead love ones.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.