We welcome the transfer of the functions of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR) to NEDA as provided for in Memorandum Order No. 79 issued by the Office of the President. These functions are well within NEDA’s mandate as the government’s development planning and policy coordinating body. As the vice-chair for rehabilitation and recovery of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), NEDA has been involved from the start in the post-disaster operations for Typhoon Yolanda.

The transfer of PARR’s functions now enables NEDA to more directly ensure that Typhoon Yolanda recovery and rehabilitation programs and projects are aligned with the government’s results and implementation frameworks, as embodied in the two Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda (RAY) documents: Build Back Better (2013) and Implementation for Results (2014), which in turn are aligned with the Philippine Development Plan.

We recognize the completion of the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Program (CRRP) by erstwhile PARR Secretary Panfilo Lacson and his team as a critical first step in the government’s rehabilitation efforts. We shall build on what the PARR has done so far to implement the CRRP which was approved by the President on October 29, 2014. Specifically, we shall focus on the timely release of the budget for projects included in the CRRP. For this, we shall be working closely with the Department of Budget and Management to ensure that the requisites for responsible public financial management do not impede the efficient implementation of urgently needed rehabilitation projects.

The overall coordination, monitoring, and evaluation functions for rehabilitation and recovery will be overseen by a Project Monitoring Office (PMO) within NEDA under the Regional Development Office headed by Deputy Director-General Margarita R. Songco. The PMO will use the existing Regional Project Monitoring and Evaluation System (RPMES) in monitoring the status and progress of Typhoon Yolanda-related projects, programs, and activities (PPAs), in accordance with M.O.79.This will serve as the basis for regularly reporting on the progress of work.

We emphasize that the actual delivery of the Typhoon Yolanda-related programs and projects remains the responsibility of government implementing agencies whose work will be coordinated through the infrastructure, resettlement, social services, livelihood, and support clusters as provided for in the memorandum order. At the national level, each of these implementing agencies has already designated a senior official who shall be responsible for overseeing the implementation of PPAs in their respective agencies.

In carrying out NEDA’s responsibilities as spelled out in the memorandum order, we will regularly consult with local government units in the disaster-affected regions to ensure that PPAs are responsive to local needs. We will continue to work with our partners from the private sector, civil society, and the international development community to rebuild the economies in the affected areas and restore people’s jobs and livelihood. Taking stock of the experience in post-disaster work in the past year, we are determined to build on the gains and learn from the shortcomings. Always our focus shall be to hasten the recovery process by eliminating administrative and policy bottlenecks in the implementation of priority PPAs.

Though we are aware that full rehabilitation requires a long period of time, we recognize the urgent need for substantial progress in the typhoon-affected localities. Success in these efforts is crucial for achieving our goal of a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive growth.