The San Juan Daily Star
Mayors Assn. pushes to accelerate post-Fiona recovery processes
By The Star Staff
Puerto Rico Mayors Association President Luis Javier Hernández Ortiz received on Wednesday the management components of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTOP by its Spanish acronym), and the Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience (COR3), for a meeting to share updates on the reconstruction work related to Hurricane Fiona.
Concerning FEMA, the participants discussed specific cases of response and recovery works under the Public Assistance and Permanent Works Program. In the case of COR3, they followed up on applications to the Public Assistance program. Regarding the DTOP, the meeting focused on collaborative agreements for road rehabilitation and expediting response, particularly contracts, federal funds and public works.
“In general terms, all mayors intend for recovery to be real. In that sense, we insist that the funds allocated are properly used,” Hernández Ortiz said. “One example is the mechanism of collaborative agreements with instrumentalities such as the DTOP, which have proven effective.”
During the meeting, the effectiveness of the municipalities in handling emergencies was pointed out, particularly in solving particular situations involving the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA), where the municipalities contributed personnel and equipment to provide drinking water to the communities quickly. At the same time, the public corporation applied its protocols.
“There has been constant collaboration with some agencies, but not in the case of LUMA Energy, where the municipalities carried out part of the energizing work. Although that was not the purpose, FEMA and COR3 recognized the work of the municipalities,” Hernández Ortiz said. “In fact, FEMA will reimburse the expenses incurred by the municipalities for the re-energization of their communities.”