26 January 2017

President Duterte visits Tacloban City housing project, vows to relocate displaced families by March

TACLOBAN CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte visited government’s permanent housing project for Typhoon Yolanda survivors here promising to relocate displaced families by March this year.

Duterte arrived at New Hope Village in Bgy. Sta.  Elena, Tacloban City on Wednesday, January 25 to inspect the government’s P290 million housing program for the typhoon survivors. The New Hope Village is just one of the government’s housing projects for families affected by Typhoon Yolanda.

In his message, Duterte said he was angered by the government’s inability to immediately provide shelter to the survivors three years after Typhoon Yolanda struck Eastern Visayas.

He visited Tacloban City in November last year, and was surprised after knowing that only 28 families were relocated few years after the disaster.

“Galit ako kasi three years after, iyan lang ang natrabaho ng gobyerno. And the first time I came here, I was not really very pleased,” the President said.

The problem, he said, is that government officials and personnel are lazy and put people’s interest as the least of their priorities particularly regarding projects that need urgent completion. He said he won’t allow incompetence and abuses during his term.

He warned government directors to work double time to finish projects that affect the people’s welfare. The President also vowed to tackle red tape and corruption in government.

For instance, he wants ordinary permits be issued within two to three days, and for the departments for the processing time to be one month. He also promised to impose severe restrictions on government offices by the end of February.

At the same time, the President encouraged the public to report erring public officials through hotline 8888 that he has established.

“So I expect everybody to work. Walang pasyal-pasyal and anybody of you, ‘pag may nakita kayong taga-gobyerno, national, local na mamamasyal diyan sa hapon, text me and ang akin is zero tolerance,” he said.

According to the President, he would insist on the dismissal of abusive officials and expects the Civil Service Commission to help.

The housing project in New Hope Village, built through the efforts by the National Housing Authority (NHA), is Bungalow type, with 40 square meter lot area and 28.6 square meter floor area.

NHA has reported that so far, 811 units out of 1,000, were awarded to the typhoon survivors. The remaining houses will be awarded soon.###PND

Palace official recommends shift from CCT to more government interventions
A government official has recommended for a gradual shift in paradigm from the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program towards more government interventions.

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said the shift should be implemented in the next 10 years.

“We give about 65 billion pesos to those that are really at the bottom of the pyramid, which is fine, which is good. But frankly, it does not really teach them how to fish, we’re just giving them the fish. So we have to change that and my proposal and I’ve proposed this to some of the secretaries that maybe, over the next 10 years, that should move towards more government intervention,” Concepcion said in a press briefing in Malacañan on Thursday, January 26.

Concepcion explained that the shift from CCT may include additional funding for government interventions that could help micro, small and medium enterprises. This in turn, he said, would help create more jobs for the Filipinos.

Concepcion meanwhile said mentorship is a powerful tool to equip micro, small and medium scale entrepreneurs.

 “There are many entrepreneurs out there already who need a lifeline, advice and guidance and direction on how they can move from basically survival entrepreneurship to sustainability,” Concepcion said.

 In the same briefing, meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the Palace welcomed the country’s 6.6 percent GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2016 with a 6.8 percent GDP growth for the year 2016.

“The last quarter of an election year is usually weak with the government transition. However, in our case, it has actually improved,” Abella said.

“This is higher than the 6.3 growth recorded during the fourth quarter of 2015 and the 6.6 growth in fourth quarter is a testament that our economy remains robust and is growing at a healthy and steady rate,” he said, adding that the Philippine economy is likely the third or fourth fastest-growing economy in the fourth quarter of 2016 after China and Vietnam.

“Overall, we believe that the target of 6.5, 7.5 for 2017 is highly likely and that our strong economic performance is likely to be sustainable in the long run,” Abella said.###PND