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Ex-rehab czar Lacson returns to Yolanda-hit Cebu town

/ 05:27 PM April 07, 2022
Presidential candidate Senator Panfilo Lacson greets residents waiting inside a cultural and sports center here for his town hall meeting on Thursday, April 7, 2022.

Presidential candidate Senator Panfilo Lacson greets residents waiting inside a cultural and sports center here for his town hall meeting on Thursday, April 7, 2022. INQUIRER.net photo / Christia Marie Ramos

BOGO CITY, Cebu — Presidential candidate Senator Panfilo Lacson on Thursday returned to this city, eight years after he visited as the then rehabilitation czar when Supertyphoon Yolanda devastated parts of  Visayas in 2013.

“This is one of the 15 cities and municipalities na [that is] hardly hit by Yolanda. The last time I was here was in July 2014,” Lacson told reporters before his town hall meeting with residents here.

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“Talagang malaki ang damage dito, I think 18,000 na houses ang na-destroy dito and nung ako ay na-assign sa Yolanda, pinuntahan ko rito. That was the last time I was here,” he added.

(The damage here was big, I think 18,000 houses were destroyed and when I was assigned to lead rehabilitation efforts after Yolanda, I went here. That was the last time I was here.)

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At the time, Lacson turned over housing units and classrooms to the city donated by the private sector.

He said he returned to the city to “follow up” if the city has completely recovered from Yolanda’s impact.

“Kasi nawala na ako sa Yolanda early 2015 kasi nga nung after the rehabilitation and recovery plan was approved by PNoy (former President Ninoy Aquino), may funding na, wala na akong gagawin, wala na ako sa implementation, nag-resign na ako so I want to find out also, to follow up since then,” the senator said.

(I was no longer part of the team that responded to Yolanda in early 2016 before after the rehabilitation and recovery plan was approved by PNoy, there’s already funding, I am no longer on the implementation side, I resigned so I want to find out also, I have to follow up what happened since then.)

“Very slow ang government response [The government response was slow],” he added, attributing this to the “usual bureaucracy.”

He noted gathering the help of private corporations.

“Ito ang nakinabang noon [This is one of the cities that benefited from that],” Lacson said of the city. “Hindi ako pwedeng umasa nang umasa sa government kasi mabagal nga [You can’t solely depend on the government because it was slow].”

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“All governments for that matter, hindi ako nagzezero in dun sa government ni PNoy, but any government, but talagang historically talagang dahil sa COA (Commission on Audit) rules, yun kailangan talaga gumawa ng paraan, maging proactive at saka mag improvise,” he further said.

(All governments for that matter, I’m not zeroing in on PNoy’s government, but any government, historically because of the COA rules, we really needed to find ways, to be proactive and improvise.)

Asked what his plans are for cities like Bogo, Lacson said he seeks to dialogue with residents for updates on the city’s trade and commerce.

“Ang Bogo is the northern trading center ng Ceb…Maganda rin makipag-dialogue sa mga tao so we can find out ano na ang latest in terms of trade and commerce dito sa Northern Cebu,” he added.

(Bogo is the northern trading center of Cebu…It’s good to dialogue with the people here to find out what is the latest in terms of trade and commerce here in Northern Cebu.)

Lacson and his vice presidential running mate, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, has been holding town hall meetings with multi-sectoral groups throughout their campaign so far.

“Mas magandang kausap yung hindi napapansin ng government,” Lacson said when asked why they prefer to go to smaller cities.

(It’s better to talk to those who are not really given attention to by the government.)

“Mas gusto namin mas lapat ang problemang naririnig namin,” he added.

(We prefer hearing exact problems.)

RELATED STORIES:

Lacson, ex-rehab czar, decries lack of ‘Yolanda’ funds

Survivors pick up the pieces in Yolanda Village in Bogo City

JPV

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TAGS: 2022 polls, Bogo City, Cebu, Nation, News, Senator Panfilo Lacson, Yolanda
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