DENR forms regional task forces to promote rehabilitation in typhoon-hit areas

January 31, 2022 | 12:16 p.m

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has established regional task forces that will help expedite recovery and rehabilitation programs in typhoon-devastated areas.

In a press release, the department said Minister Roy Cimatu had ordered the establishment of regional Build Back Better Task Forces (RTFBBBs). The DENR leads the national government’s Task Force Build Back Better (TFBBB), led by President Rodrigo Duterte, to ensure post-disaster reconstruction efforts in typhoon-hit areas.

Cimatu said provinces bearing the brunt of Typhoon Odette (Rai) – the strongest tropical cyclone to hit the Philippines in the past year – will be prioritized in implementing the DENR regulation.

“Odette” swept through the southern and central regions of the Philippines in December, killing at least 407 people and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.

“The DENR Regional Executive Directors for Caraga, Regions 6, 7, 8, 10 and MIMAROPA as Chairs of the Regional TFBBB in their respective regions, in coordination with the affected Regional Lineage Authorities and Local Government Units, are to conduct damage assessments and identify appropriate interventions for recovery and rehabilitation” said Cimatu.

Analiza Rebuelta-Teh, DENR undersecretary and head of the TFBBB secretariat, said the establishment of regional task forces underscores the urgency of a clear mechanism on how to achieve a “comprehensive response” at the regional level.

Cimatu signed a special executive order providing for the mechanism by which RTFBBBs “organize and convoke” in coordination with the governmental authorities of the RTFBBB member lines, “as appropriate.”

TFBBB’s first focus areas were the Marikina, Cagayan and Bicol river basins following the onslaught of Super Typhoons Rolly (Goni) and Typhoon Ulysses (Vamco) in late 2020.

The Philippines is among the countries most affected by the impacts of human-caused climate change. An average of 20 hurricanes hit the country’s area of ​​responsibility every year. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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