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Duterte names new ‘Yolanda’ rehab czar

The country has a new rehabilitation czar in Yolanda-hit communities.

Disappointed by the sluggish rebuilding efforts, President Duterte has designated Presidential Assistant for Visayas Michael Dino to ensure the resettlement of the storm victims would be completed by December.

The President visited Tacloban City, Leyte on the third anniversary of the Yolanda onslaught and apologized to the typhoon survivors for the delay in the construction of permanent shelter.

“Three years after, iilang tao pa lang ang nakatira sa mga bunkhouses or the relief houses that are provided by government. I am not satisfied. As a matter of fact, it’s BS to me. Three years, wala pay nakabalhin kaayo,” Duterte said in his impromptu remarks.

“Ako po’y naghihingi ng tawad sa inyo,” the President told the families still living in temporary shelters since the powerful typhoon hit the country in 2013.

The President said he was placing Dino “in charge” to hasten the resettlement program, adding he would return to Tacloban next month to check the progress.

“By December, gusto ko makalipat na lahat. P*** i**. ‘Yang tubig na ‘yan, gawaan mo sila ng swimming pool. Gawaan mo sila ng lahat basta I will be back, I promise you,” he said.

If the houses are not built next month, the President said in jest that Dino should look for a resettlement site in Fort Bonifacio or Forbes Park.

Although Dino has been tapped as the President’s point man in the Yolanda rebuilding efforts, Duterte said he still expects concerned government agencies to cooperate with Vice President Leni G. Robredo.

He said government agencies must still “take orders” from Robredo, who chairs the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, so she could “finish her job on time.”

Robredo earlier said bureaucratic red tape has derailed the resettlement program for the Yolanda victims.

Of the 205,128 housing projects needed to be built, only 29,661 have been finished, 20,287 have been partially completed, and only 4,278 are being occupied as of September.

To government agencies involved in the resettlement plan, Duterte warned them to cut red tape to hasten the construction of the houses or else risk getting fired. He made special mention to the Department of Public Works and Highways, National Housing Authority, and Local Water Utilities Administration. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)