It has been almost six months since the last typhoon hit, and the Philippine government is already looking to 2017 as the year when it could emerge from its crisis.
“This year is going to be the year we can really make the change,” President Rodrigo Duterte said at the inauguration of the Philippines Global Network for Disaster Recovery (PGNDR).
“This is going a long way to make this the year that we can finally make the transition away from the pandemic,” he said, pointing to the government’s own disaster recovery plans.
The Philippines is currently one of the worst affected countries in the world, but Duterte’s plans to reduce the country’s reliance on imports from China have been widely applauded.
The president’s announcement has been greeted with widespread support.
The Philippine economy grew at a record rate of 9.4 per cent last year, thanks in large part to the rapid recovery of tourism, which is booming.
But the country has been facing rising tensions over its controversial martial law, and many residents have been feeling the effects of the countrys recent economic slowdown.
The country has also been hit by a series of deadly natural disasters, including Typhoon Haiyan that hit the country in late 2016 and a deadly wave off the coast of the island of Mindanao in 2018 that killed more than 1,000 people.
The government has made efforts to reduce tensions by mobilising support for a national day of mourning, which has seen the government set up a toll-free number for anyone who has been affected by the typhoon.
However, this year’s event is being pushed by the government as a chance to get a grip on the country, as well as promote tourism.
There will be no commemorative events, Duterte said, in an effort to make the event more welcoming for tourists.
“It’s going to happen, it’s going a lot of fun, and I think it’s good to get out of the crisis zone,” he added.
“But it’s not going to solve the problem, but we’ll see.”