MANILA—The Dinagat Islands provincial government on Monday said it has begun working on recovery and rehabilitation efforts almost a month after it was hit by typhoon Odette.
In a statement, Gov. Kaka Bag-ao said the LGU has been reorganized into 3 clusters — emergency operations, recovery, governance — to sets its plans in motion.
The emergency operations center will continue to provide relief and health services, while the recovery group will start working on plans and programs aimed at rebuilding public infrastructure and restoring livelihoods.
Among the recovery programs is the reconstruction of damaged homes in safe areas and resettlement of families away from danger zones.
The governance cluster, meanwhile, will continue providing the necessary administrative and budgetary functions of the provincial government.
Bag-ao added that community kitchens will be strengthened.
"These started out as a means for immediate relief in the form of hot meals for our survivors. However, our community kitchens have evolved into venues to address food security while removing the problem of how to immediately respond to hunger so our people can focus on rebuilding their homes and lives. Several of these community kitchens have now been passed on from the provincial government to the barangay local government units," she wrote.
According to Bag-ao, she has received help from various agencies and organizations.
"In the past days, I have met with various officials and organizations that have committed their resources and time to assist us in recovery. Vice-President Leni Robredo showed me their model homes in areas that were similarly devastated by past typhoons," she wrote.
"Her office will work with us in developing resilient housing for Dinagatnons.
"Several agencies, officials, and non-government and international organizations also committed to provide support in rebuilding and repairing stronger homes, schools, hospitals, and other critical infrastructure for and with our people.
"Resilient housing is indeed possible not only because of the help of our friends in the private and public sectors, but also because of our own people. I personally went to several affected communities, especially those in coastal areas.
"All those I talked to were amenable to placing their new homes away from danger zones along the shore, as long as we provide infrastructure to protect and access their fishing boats. This shows that people's participation is and will always be the key to recovery and development that is rights-based, participatory, and inclusive."
Bag-ao said part of their rehabilitation program is to conduct dialogues with barangays on housing and zoning matters.
"Our recovery is not simply about rebuilding homes, but ensuring that we consider location, access, and the effects to both livelihood and the environment," she explained, also thanking sectors who have helped.
Dinagat Islands is one of the provinces severely affected by the typhoon, with the total cost of damage to agriculture and fisheries sector amounting to over P1 billion.
Days after the typhoon hit, its information officer said Dinagat was "leveled to the ground", with the provincial capitol building destroyed.