MANILA, Philippines - The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) is leading the development of a recovery and reconstruction plan for the typhoon-devastated areas in the Philippines.
The Cabinet's Economic Development Cluster formed an interagency task force to craft the plan, focusing on immediate and near-term actions needed to rebuild facilities, restore social services and revive economic activities.
The recovery plan is expected to be presented to President Benigno Auqino in two to three weeks, and will be implemented immediately following relief operations in areas hit by super typhoon "Yolanda" (Haiyan).
"It is important to quickly assess the damage and losses and to determine the right sequence of government actions,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.
Balisacan said the recovery plan will address social and economic impact of the typhoon, which flattened Tacloban and other parts of central Visayas region and killed over 3,000.
NEDA estimated that the country's fourth quarter growth could slow to 4.1%, based on preliminary data on damage and production losses. This is lower than the 7.6% growth recorded in the first half of the year.
"But the negative impact of the typhoon may linger in 2014 due to reduced production capacity. The full year GDP growth for 2013 could be reduced by 0.3 to 0.8 percent, lowering growth estimates to 6.5 percent to 7 percent. Prior to the onset of calamities, the Philippine economy was expected to grow by 7.3 percent for 2013," NEDA said.
Balisacan said the government has to accelerate the implementation of social and economic development projects, particularly in the affected provinces, to ensure the Philippine economy can recover lost ground.
The plan also aims to assist in the social and psychological recovery of individuals and communities affected. "It is easier to recover economic losses; it is the social cost that is harder and will take longer to reverse," he said.
The task force created by the Economic Development Cluster will prepare a detailed master plan, indicating short-term and long-term actions.
Immediate actions include assessment of damage to infrastructure and preparation of more resilient design standards for infrastructure projects. These will be used in the rehabilitation and construction of critical infrastructure such as housing, roads and bridges, hospitals, provincial, city and municipal halls, seaports and airports, public markets, water supply and distribution systems, irrigation systems, power, telecommunications as well as other government offices and facilities.
"These actions must be completed in the shortest possible time, to restore people’s means of livelihood and revive economic and business activities,” Balisacan said.