Lacson wants more powerful rehab czar

By Jenny Reyes, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 07 2014 04:26 PM | Updated as of Aug 08 2014 06:03 AM

MANILA - Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo Lacson is asking President Aquino to expand his oversight functions and allow him to initiate investigations in delays and anomalies in rehabilitation efforts in areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda.

Lacson issued the statement at the forum of First Philippine Holdings and the Oscar M. Lopez Climate Change Center on the mainstreaming of climate change in decision making.

The presidential assistant said his lawyers are currently drafting either an administrative order or an executive order that he will propose to the President sometime next week.

Lacson said he is "hamstrung by lack of authority" which is part of what's causing the delays in rehabilitation.

He clarified: "I'm not seeking authority for myself. Para lang ma-clarify yung gagawin namin, way forward."

As rehabilitation czar, Lacson's function basically covers the preparation of the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan which he has submitted to the President last week.

Lacson is left with oversight functions which he said can easily be accomplished by media organizations and civil service organizations.

Lacson wants powers to investigate unnecessary delays and, if needed, hold implementing agencies and officials administratively accountable.

"Konting kamandag lang. Konting ngipin. Hindi naman yung kamandag na nakamamatay. Yung panakot lang," he said.

Once the comprehensive plan gets the President's go-signal, Lacson expects rehabilitation efforts to "shift into high gear," especially with Pope Francis expected to visit Leyte in January.

Lacson is looking at concentrating on housing and livelihood in the months leading to the Pope's visit.