MANILA - Six weeks after being appointed as 'Rehabilitation Czar' by President Benigno Aquino III, Secretary Panfilo Lacson said his committee has already accomplished a lot in the rebuilding and rehabilitation of the places hit by super typhoon Yolanda.
In an interview during the Experts Forum on Rebuilding Communities and Ecosystems After "Yolanda", Lacson emphasized the progress achieved by the ad hoc committee Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR), which he currently serves as head.
"I think we are progressing very well. Just because we are quiet doesn't mean wala kaming ginagawa. I think, I may be biased, I may be subjective but I think we have accomplished much in six weeks because that's the time I have spent so far being the [head of PARR]."
Lacson said he is forced to finish the rehabilitation and rebuilding process within 20,000 hours as his office is only co-terminus with the current administration.
"We're giving ourselves 20,000 hours to accomplish our task because translated into actual years and months, that's more or less 2 and a half years. And it's not my choice but we're forced by circumstances dahil ad hoc itong body and co-terminus kami sa Pangulo."
The secretary said that because of the nature of his job, he learned how to be politically "color-blind" in order to serve the Filipinos in dire need of help.
"One thing I've learned in this job is being color-blind kasi we're dealing with different personalities. After all, kapag tinignan mo 'yung kulay ng pulitika, then we might be able to neglect the needs of the people. Kapag pulitika ang pumasok sa usapan, hindi naman 'yung mayor ang pinaparusahan mo kung hindi 'yung mga tao, 'yung mga biktima."
Lacson said PARR is relying more on the members of the private sector who have pledged aids and promised direct participation in the efforts of the committee.
PARR is currently focused on the rebuilding and rehabilitation of four major components, namely: housing, education, health and livelihood.
He said the committee is also concerned with addressing environmental and gender issues within the affected communities.