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The Duterte administration has once again showed its full commitment to fight climate change and its devastating impacts with the creation of a new task force that will oversee the rehabilitation and recovery of areas ravaged by recent typhoons.

This was according to Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, who, together with Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, has been designated by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to head the “Build Back Better Task Force” created under Executive Order (EO) 120.

“The creation of this body shows how central the imperatives of climate change are to the Duterte administration,” said Cimatu, who also chairs the Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction.

The inter-agency task force—led by the secretaries of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)—will focus on post-disaster rehabilitation and recovery phase in typhoon-affected areas, beginning with those hit by typhoons Rolly and Ulysses.

“With the DENR and DPWH at the helm of this very important body, the President has walked the fine line between giving immediate responses to disasters and the urgency of giving long-term measures on climate change adaptation and resiliency, Cimatu said.

Among its other duties, the task force was assigned to expedite and lead the preparation, implementation and monitoring of a Post-Disaster Rehabilitation and Recovery Program for typhoon-affected areas aligned with the Rehabilitation and Recovery Planning Guide (RRPG).

RRPG provides an overall framework and planning reference that aids local government units (LGUs) and national government agencies formulate their plans for post-disaster rehabilitation and recovery.

Under EO 120, the DENR will provide secretariat support to the task force with existing personnel from member-agencies comprised of nearly all national government agencies.

The DPWH, on the other hand, will ensure that infrastructures built in areas affected by typhoons are “climate resilient.”

All other government agencies—including government-owned or -controlled corporations and government financial institutions, as well as state universities and colleges are hereby directed, and LGUs—were ordered to provide the necessary support and assistance to the task force. #