Remarks by Mission Director Gloria D. Steele, Turnover of the Newly Constructed Classrooms and Agriculture Production Inputs

Thursday, October 2, 2014

[As Prepared]

Mayor Alfred Romualdez,
Honored guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good afternoon to all of you.

I am delighted to be here with you this afternoon as we continue our work together to help in recovery efforts after the devastation from Typhoon Haiyan.

While we mourn the loss of lives and property, you and all the people of Tacloban City and Leyte Province have since shown the Philippines, and the world, your great determination to rise from disaster and rebuild your lives.

Today’s ceremony is a testament to the resiliency and courage of those who refuse to allow crisis to deter them from the path of progress. In times of crisis, despite the danger and hardships, there is also great opportunity for communities to grow together and build back better.

The U.S. Government has provided approximately $142.5 million in humanitarian and rehabilitation assistance for Typhoon Haiyan affected areas. We, in close partnership with the Government of the Philippines, are now focusing our efforts on rehabilitation and recovery. This includes restoring access to education, health services and livelihood.

USAID will construct in Tacloban City and Leyte Province at least 165 classrooms and 10 health facilities that are climate-resilient. USAID is also supplying these facilities with furniture and medical equipment, allowing them to be ready for immediate use.

USAID will also construct critical infrastructure facilities that support the agriculture and fisheries sector. These will include public markets, boat landings, trading centers, and post-harvest warehouses and dryers.

To support the farmers and the fisherfolk, USAID is providing workers with planting and aquaculture materials. We will also provide training to enable growers to produce alternative crops and high value aquaculture species.

USAID will assist small entrepreneurs, particularly sari-sari store owners, to get back on their feet by building or reconstructing 1,000 stores and supplying them with goods to sell. This is a partnership with U.S. private companies, Procter & Gamble and Coca Cola.

Today’s ribbon cutting of these 10 classroom school buildings is tangible evidence of the close partnership between the Philippines and the United States—one that has endured and prospered for decades and that will continue for years to come.

The priority we give to building classrooms is recognition of the critically important role of education in poverty alleviation. It is also a reaffirmation that education is a basic human right to which everyone should have access.

Our commitment to education also reflects that of the Government of the Philippines; who in its very constitution mandate that no sector shall have a budget greater than that which goes to fund education service delivery.

USAID is also committed to help restore livelihood and food sufficiency in Tacloban City and Leyte Province through climate change adaptive agriculture and aquaculture. We hope that production inputs and training will help you restart your livelihood and provide you with a sustainable source of income.

To our Philippine Government partners, let me re-affirm our commitment to help restore normalcy in the lives of the affected families, especially the children.

To all of you here, let me say that your resilience, courage and determination to rebuild truly inspire all of us.

Thank you very much to all of you.

Issuing Country