MANILA - Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo Lacson is appealing to local officials in Tacloban, Leyte and other Yolanda-hit areas to set aside politics and cooperate in rehabilitation efforts.
Speaking to "[email protected]" on Wednesday, Lacson noted that Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez was a no-show at the turnover of the initial 122 housing units for typhoon survivors last Saturday.
"Ang sabi niya walang nangyayari sa Tacloban. But sa infrastructure, if he went around sa siyudad niya, makikita niya na may on-going construction ng classrooms, school buildings, may mga roads, bridges na ginagawa," Lacson said.
"I'm not accusing the mayor of corruption. I'm not accusing him of incompetence. What I'm saying is and I appeal to all the local government executives, not just to Mayor Romualdez, ang sabi ko: 'Let's set our priorities right. Kung pwedeng unahin na muna natin itong mga survivors, huwag na muna tayong makialam sa mga rallies,'" he said.
The rehabilitation czar earlier criticized Romualdez for saying that Tacloban did not receive money from the national government.
He also slammed the mayor for allegedly transporting protesters from other regions to Tacloban to decry the government's supposed inaction.
Romualdez, for his part, denied saying that Tacloban did not get financial aid from the national government.
But he said some of his constituents are asking questions about the billions in foreign aid intended for Yolanda survivors.
In the ANC interview, Lacson said around 500 of 600 housing units are scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.
He said Tacloban's total housing requirement of 14,433 will be achieved before 2016.
"Sana nagpunta ka sa Javier town, parang walang nangyari. Sana nagpunta ka sa Ormoc, ang linis ng kalsada, parang walang nangyari, except for the bus terminal na kailangang ikumpuni pa. Sana nagpunta ka sa Tanauan, sana nagpunta ka sa Guian, napakaraming nangyayari dun," he said.
"Pero pag punta mo ng Tacloban, it's as if nothing is moving, pero that's on the surface. Di ba dapat parang obligasyon na ng mayor yun, linisin mo naman yung kalsada mo, linisin mo naman yung paligid mo tapos pasyalan mo naman yung mga construction para alam mo yung nangyayari," he added.
He said he will look into reports more families are now supposedly staying in tents in Tacloban.
He said based on data from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), only 146 families are not yet in transitional shelters.
He added displaced families in other places affected by Yolanda have been given temporary housing.
According to Lacson, nearly half of Tacloban's funding requirement for rehabilitation has been downloaded with P6 billion released to the city and more than P230 million downloaded for repairs on the city hall and other LGU facilities.
Under the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan, government has listed no less than 18,000 projects in 171 cities and municipalities across six regions.
Government needs more than 1,300 hectares of land for over 205,000 housing units.
Lacson said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has downloaded more than P50 billion this year and programmed tens of billions more in the the next two years. -- Report from ANC