February 28, 2018
Lawaan, Eastern Samar — A new municipal office of Lawaan was inaugurated last week (February 22) as part of continuing assistance of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to the rehabilitation and recovery of Typhoon Yolanda areas.
Top officials of the Municipality of Lawaan, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Regional Offices, Embassy of Japan, JICA, and the residents of the town attended the inauguration.
The 3,110 square meters – site of the one-story building made of reinforced concrete, was built in the very same location as the old municipal building which was severely damaged by the typhoon in 2013. About 12,000 residents in Lawaan were affected during the typhoon.
The new building is one of two municipal buildings for reconstruction under JICA's Grant Aid scheme along with the Marabut town expected to be completed within the year.
"We expect that this new government center, which utilized Japan's experience in disaster resilient designs, would facilitate the restoration and improvement of services for the people of Lawaan which were disrupted due to the disaster. We hope that it will also serve as an inspiration in continuing the process of Build Back Better," said JICA Senior Representative Tetsuya Yamada.
The facility can also be utilized as an emergency evacuation space in times of earthquakes, storm surge, and other natural hazards. It is envisioned to be a model design on disaster resilience for other local government units in the future.
"We express our sincerest gratitude to JICA and the People of Japan for their kindness and generosity in providing a new government building for our people. Our employees have been waiting for this moment and I expect that we can all serve our constituents with renewed vigor," said Mayor Florencio Almeda.
"This new municipal building shall serve as the icon of governance for Lawaan. This is where important decisions and actions will be made that hopefully will lead to the betterment of lives of the people. It is a challenging task but I am sure our friends in Japan will be happy to learn about the development that can happen in this town in the future", added DILG Regional Director Marivel Sacendoncillo.
Apart from the reconstruction of the municipal buildings, the JICA Grant Aid Assistance for Typhoon Yolanda Rehabilitation and Recovery also includes rebuilding of schools, rural health unit, provision of equipment for DPWH, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (D.Z. Romualdez Airport), National Maritime Polytechnic, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, PAGASA, and the local electric cooperatives. A technical assistance scheme was also provided to various regional and local government units of the Philippine Government such as production of hazard maps and quick impact projects.
From left: Lawaan Mayor Florencio Almeda, JICA Senior Representative Tetsuya Yamada, Japan Embassy Second Secretary Shintaro Ichiki, DILG Regional Director Marivel Sacendoncillo and DPWH Engineer Serafin Lago during the inauguration of the new Lawaan Municipal Hall