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Aklan needs help too

AKLAN province – where the world famous Boracay island paradise in the Pacific is located and where the Ati-atihan, the mother of all Philippine festival, is celebrated – has raised its faint voice and hope for help in the wake of the massive devastation of monstrous Supertyphoon Yolanda.

JOHNNY DayangUnknown to many because the national attention has been focused on Tacloban and Roxas, the cities of the Romualdezes and DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, respectively, Aklan was also ravaged by Yolanda, admittedly the most ferocious cyclone to hit the country in living memory.

Following Yolanda’s havoc, Aklan’s 17 municipalities and its population of 552,900 did not only suffer from insuffi cient attention for vitally needed relief assistance, but also the challenges it now faces in rebuilding and restoration of what have been lost.

Last Monday, Aklan Gov. Florencio T. Miraflores handed me a partial damage assessment report, as of Nov. 15, 2013, submitted by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC). The report indicated that Aklan has incurred 12 persons dead and 305 injured. Gov. Miraflores said some 47,153 houses have been partially damaged and 37,967 totally destroyed, affecting 94,659 families or 434,411 persons.

Estimated damage to in the province are as follows: agriculture, Php925,534,074.00; lifeline, Php.3,000,000.00; infrastructure, Php 477,750,750.00; and public utilities, Php35, 605,000.00. Php 1.4 billion damage, 12 dead Aklan’s official damage estimate is Php1,441,889,824.00. The figure, however, des not include yet damages suffered by some institutions and properties in its hinterlands.

For one, the Aklan State University (ASU) has lost vital facilities, aside from destruction of its buildings and other infrastructures, trees and plants, books, and laboratory equipment. Dr. Dan Abayon, ASU president, said he is truly grateful to members of the ASU community for their support and cooperation in helping save more university facilities from Yolanda ferocity.

Former Congressman Allen Salas Quimpo, now president of the Northwestern Visayan Colleges (NVC), has expressed hope government agencies processing loan applications by victims will relax their stringent requirements.

In the prime tourist destination Boracay Island, meanwhile, the Boracay Foundation, Inc. (BFI) has likewise expressed concern over the Aklan Electric Cooperative’s earlier announced advisory that it will take some 40 days to restore power supply which could adversely affect tourism activities in the island.