Philippines

President Aquino approves release of P2.2 billion for government employees affected by ‘Yolanda’, Bohol quake

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MANILA, April 22 -- President Benigno S. Aquino III has approved the release of P2.259 billion in financial assistance to national government employees who were affected by Typhoon Yolanda and the Bohol earthquake, Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said on Wednesday.

The financial aid is for the first batch of 48,995 employees of national government agencies based in the Mindoro-Marinduque,-Romblon-Palawan region, the Bicol region, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, and Eastern Visayas, whose houses were totally, heavily, or partially damaged by the two natural disasters that struck the country in 2013, he said.

Secretary Coloma noted that President Aquino has also directed all concerned Cabinet secretaries to fast-track the implementation of all programs, activities and projects pertaining to the rehabilitation and recovery of all areas hit by Typhoon Yolanda.

“He reiterated the importance of building back better and more resilient communities,” he added.

A special cabinet meeting was convened on Wednesday to discuss the ‘Yolanda’ Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan.

On October 15, 2013, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake rocked Central Visayas, devastating Bohol and Cebu, where 222 people perished and 797 others were injured.

Two weeks later on November 2, the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall struck much of Eastern Visayas. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, an estimated 6,300 people were killed, 28,689 others were injured, and 1,061 went missing when Typhoon Yolanda hit the country. Damages were estimated at P89.59 billion. (PCOO/PND (ag)