Lacson resigns as rehabilitation czar

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 21 2014 04:09 PM | Updated as of Dec 22 2014 12:50 AM

MANILA -- (UPDATED) Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR) Panfilo Lacson confirmed that he has tendered his “irrevocable” resignation, saying he has done everything as rehabilitation czar in connection with the Yolanda disaster.

His resignation will take effect by February 2015, which gives the government a little more than a month to put in place a transition plan for the transfer of the duties of his office to a permanent agency.

Last week, Lacson already hinted at resigning when he said he wanted to transfer the mandate of his office to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

Lacson has said the the PARR’s mandate only covers the rehabilitation of Yolanda-devastated areas.

“After typhoon Ruby, some people asked if PARR would also extend its rehabilitation efforts to those newly affected Ruby-hit areas. One of the advantages of PARR is that it had the function of being the overall coordinator for all rehabilitation efforts, but PARR’s mandate only covers Yolanda-affected areas,” Lacson has said.

In a separate interview with ANC on Sunday, Lacson said everything is already in place, stressing the need for a transition to ensure that the task and the objective of his office will continue.

“We have completed and submitted the master plan. And then it was approved last October 29. We have set in place a monitoring tool and that will cover or take care of the balance of the job of oversight. Everything is in place,” he said.

He said Office of the PARR is technically just a transition body. “We have to give back to NDRRMC [the task], where the rehabilitation and recovery rightfully belongs,” he said.

According to Lacson, more than P50 billion has already been disbursed by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to the different agencies for the Yolanda rehab, while more than P80 billion worth of projects have been programmed for next year.

Lacson also said he has discussed the matter with NDRRMC executive director Alexander Pama.

However, he clarified that the transition plan has nothing to do with the 2016 elections.

Lacson did not deny that running again in 2016 remains an option.