Lacson's powers limited, says Senator Chiz
MANILA -- Former Senator and newly appointed rehabilitation czar Panfilo "Ping" Lacson is not authorized to sign contracts, release funds, or bid out projects in connection to rehabilitation efforts in areas ravaged by super typhoon "Yolanda," according to Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero.
In an interview with ANC's "Headstart" on Thursday, Escudero explained that in the absence of a law creating Lacson's office, his powers as rehabilitation czar are only limited to ensuring that all concerned agencies are coordinating with each other, that government funds are spent the right way, and that projects are implemented the soonest possible time.
"We haven't seen the EO (executive order) yet. For sure, the money that we are appropriating will go through the line agencies. Hindi naman kasi implementing agency yung position ng czar," Escudero said.
"Without him being authorized, he cannot sign a contract, he cannot bid out projects," he added.
Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson earlier said the government is looking at over P100 billion of reconstruction, from livelihood, commerce, social services, as well as infrastructure and power facilities.
Escudero said the P100 billion reconstruction fund will be available in January.
It will also include funds for cash-for-work programs and emergency employment, he said.
President Benigno Aquino III earlier explained the reason why he chose Lacson to oversee reconstruction projects in the aftermath of Yolanda.
Aquino said the former senator is a "no-nonsense person" who can help the administration achieve rehabilitation targets much sooner.
However, Malacañang has yet to issue an executive order appointing Lacson as chief of the rehabilitation program.
Lacson, meanwhile, believes the rehabilitation of areas destroyed by the massive typhoon will be difficult but doable. -- With ANC