For someone who has relatives in Tacloban and is familiar with the place, I find it distressing that government, through its Rehabilitation czar, Panfilo Lacson, has plans of relocating Region VIII’s economic or business centers outside of Tacloban City.
In fact they have mentioned Palo, Leyte, which is 12 km south of Tacloban, as the possible new urban center.
“If there is no plan to really rebuild Tacloban, let’s look for another place that will be the hub of business activity like Palo could be a good (alternative) because Tacloban may be again on the path of future calamities. That is being studied,” Lacson said.
Palo was not spared from destruction after the onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda, so what is the difference?
It is true that Tacloban does not look the same after it was practically flattened by the unprecedented storm surge, but didn’t the Sendai area in Japan looked even worst when it was flooded and destroyed by a monstrous tsunami in 2011?
But, the Japanese were relentless in their efforts to rebuild and rise back, thus, restoring the image and glory of the place. One can’t help but be awed at the transformation of the Sendai area today.
Tacloban has history, it being the capital and seat of government of the Region of Eastern Visayas (Region VIII). It was the first city in the Region to become a “Highly Urbanized City” and is the largest city in terms of population in Eastern Visayas (EV). It is also the regional center of the EV, being the main gateway by air to the region. Among other things, Tacloban was briefly the capital of the Philippines, from 20 October 1944 to 27 February 1945, during the American occupation.
It is only fitting and proper, therefore, that Tacloban be rebuilt and its past fame and importance restored for it is what it is and what is needed to be done in the best and viable way possible.
Yes, relocate the business, financial, educational and other governmental infrastructures, but do it within the realm of Tacloban City.
This is the only way that the residents of Tacloban who evacuated can be lured back, just like my own relatives who are flying back to Tacloban pretty soon, could feel welcomed, secured and hopeful that government is doing something by giving them what rightfully belongs to their place and not somewhere else – even if it will take years to restore them.
I hope to God that Lacson does his job objectively and not be carried away by political insinuations and sentiments.