Aquino orders ‘full assistance’ as Lacson takes on job of rehab czar | Inquirer News

Aquino orders ‘full assistance’ as Lacson takes on job of rehab czar

Former Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Former Sen. Panfilo Lacson formally took charge of the government’s massive rehabilitation work in areas devastated by Supertyphoon Yolanda, getting the full backing of the entire government machinery for the job.

Lacson took his oath before President Aquino as presidential assistant for rehabilitation and recovery shortly before attending a Cabinet meeting at the Palace in the afternoon.


In appointing the ex-senator, the President directed all government offices and its “instrumentalities” to “render full assistance and cooperation to the presidential assistant as may be required to carry out his functions.”


Aquino’s order was contained in Memorandum Order No. 62, which he signed last Dec. 6. It spelled out eight functions for Lacson.

As rehabilitation chief, Lacson will act as “overall manager and coordinator of rehabilitation, recovery, and reconstruction efforts of government departments, agencies and instrumentalities in the affected areas, to the extent allowed by law.”

He will be assisted by Undersecretary Danilo Antonio, formerly chief operating officer of Eton Property Philippines, Inc. and professor at the Asian Institute of Management from 1988 to 2008.

Lacson was tasked to come up with “plans and programs for the rehabilitation, recovery and development of the affected areas, including an overall strategic vision and integrated short-term, medium-term and long-term programs, which shall be submitted to the President for approval.”

In doing so, he would have to “coordinate” with the National Risk Reduction and Management Council and “consult” with local government units, according to MO 62.

Even with Lacson’s appointment, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said executive departments would continue “performing their primary mandate.”


But in areas devastated by “Yolanda,” Lacson would be the President’s “top assistant in ensuring that recovery and rehabilitation efforts will be done expeditiously,” Coloma said.

Malacañang said rehabilitation programs were being done “with the highest sense of urgency and priority.”

“There’s no letup in the government’s effort to respond to the immediate needs of our people hit by the calamity,” Coloma said.

Lacson’s functions include the power to “exercise oversight over the relevant government agencies” in the implementation of the rehabilitation program. He could also propose “funding support” and tap “consultants, experts, and professional advisors whenever necessary.”

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