Palace denies Lacson quitting as rehab czar

By Jorge Carino, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 05 2014 03:51 PM | Updated as of Aug 05 2014 11:51 PM

MANILA - Malacanang denied reports that Presidential Assistant on Recovery and Rehabilitation Panfilo Lacson is set to quit his post after filing the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan for areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda.

"Hindi pa po tayo nakakakuha ng opisyal na kompirmasyon hinggil sa mga ulat na iyan," said Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office.

Coloma said the decision to keep Lacson or allow him to quit is up to President Benigno Aquino III.

He said the President is satisfied with Lacson's performance.

"Noon pa po ay kinilala na ni Pangulong Aquino na mas mainam kung merong isang kagawad ng Gabinete na maglalaan ng buong atensiyon dahil nakikita niya na hindi ito magagampanan ng epektibo kung iyong iba’t ibang kalihim lamang ang nagsusulong nung kaniya-kaniyang programa," he said.

Lacson earlier submitted to President Aquino the comprehensive rehabilitation and recovery plan for areas affected by supertyphoon Yolanda.

The plan came in eight volumes and 8,000 pages, covering projects worth P170.9 billion.

Lacson said the plan mainly addresses needs in the livelihood sector, resettlement, social services, and infrastructure.

It also covers gender equality, disaster preparedness, climate change adaptation, and other environmental concerns.

Lacson said the Department of Budget and Management has P137 billion in funds available that can be "frontloaded" in 2014 and 2015.

He said he is expecting that 80 to 85 percent of the projects would be completed by the time Aquino steps down in 2016.

He will recommend that capable LGUs be allowed to be given the funds and undertake the projects themselves to speed up rehabilitation.