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PIA Press Release

Salceda proposes creation of Reconstruction Commission

by MS Arguelles

To handle aid to overcome impacts versus global financial and calamity crisis

Legazpi City (13 October) -- Albay Gov. Joey S. Salceda yesterday proposed the creation of a Special Public-Private Reconstruction Commission to handle fresh financial aid given by external sources to fund reconstruction efforts on the magnitude of calamity that recently wrought havoc in Metro Manila and neighboring regions in Luzon.

The country needs to seek $1 billion fresh aid from international communities, to overcome the impact of global crisis and the magnitude of tropical storms Ondoy and Pepeng that recently wrought havoc leaving the country with hundreds of people dead and millions of families homeless and billions of pesos in damages to public, private infrastructures, agriculture and livelihoods, in Metro Manila and 27 regions in Luzon, Salceda, a top economic analyst said.

Salceda said the government has to ask for fresh aid to parry the impacts of global financial and calamity driven crisis affecting the country's fiscal capacity.

Salceda, senior economic adviser of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, said the $1-billion financial aid would finance reconstruction of various social and infrastructure programs destroyed by tropical storm Ondoy and Pepeng.

The fresh aid would be used to finance relocation of thousands of families displaced by the calamities at P20-billion; infrastructure rehabilitation at P21-billion; and, livelihood and agriculture at P5-billion.

This totals P46-billion of which P27-billion funding to rehabilitate projects destroyed by Ondoy, P12-billion for Pepeng and P7-billion for Frank.

To safeguard the financial assistance given by external sources, Salceda said that a special public-private reconstruction commission be created by President Arroyo to be headed by dominant business leaders with Manny V. Pangilinan as Chairman with the Social Welfare Secretary Nerissa Cabral and Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales as Co-chairs and with department heads and business groups, NGO representatives and international NGO representatives as members.

He said, to spearhead this effort, the reconstruction commission composed by government, church, big business and civil society should be constituted by the government.

"It will operate like the original CCPAP (Coordinating Council for the Philippine Assistance Plan) headed by businessman Roberto Villanueva of AGPI. The CCPAP has since evolved into the CCPSP which operates the BOT Center under DTI," Salceda said.

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to form the secretariat, with key tasks to raise funds especially grants, prioritize programs and oversee implementation.

They will also serve as clearing house for international assistance implemented by the donors themselves using cluster approach.

The reconstruction commission should request United Nation and World Bank to coordinate an international pledging session either in Spain or Japan possibly in November.

"It is our duty to rebuild lives. To do this, it is also time to admit that we need help in a big way beyond the exigency of disaster response the two other alternatives are to raise taxes or slash other priorities," he said.

"We are neither feasible nor desirable since they just shift pesos from the left to the right hand. What are needed are new external resources," he said. (PNA/PIA) [top]

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