CBCP exec urges Lacson to name those obstructing rehab projects
MANILA, Philippines — An official of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) challenged rehabilitation chief coordinator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson to name the politicians allegedly obstructing the government’s rehabilitation efforts in areas ravaged by Super Typhoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan).
“It would be better if they are named. It is not fair to be accusing politicians of being ‘obstructionists’. We need to know who they are and be allowed to air their side,” said Fr. Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary, CBCP-National Secretariat for Social Action.
He said doing so would also help improve the system of providing assistance for the disaster victims.
Yolanda, packing sustained winds of 235 kilometers per hour and gusting up to 275 kph, swirled through Eastern Visayas on Nov. 8, leveling mostly seaside villages and leaving more than 6,000 dead.
The National Economic and Development Authority has drawn up the P361-billion “Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda” plan for areas ravaged by the super typhoon.
Lacson, a former senator and national police chief, earlier said he had a “shortlist” of people who have been“getting in the way” of the government’s relief and rehabilitation efforts, making it more difficult for them to speed up their work.
He said the shortlist consists of less than 10 people, most of them politicians.
These people refused to “cooperate” by either holding or delaying the requirements needed to complete a task, he said.
But Lacson said these delays would not hamper their efforts to continue coordinating with these people.
Gariguez said revealing the names and being able to hear their side would help clarify how they have been deterring the government’s rebuilding efforts.
“If they are constructive critics, he (Lacson) and the Aquino administration should be willing to listen to them. They should be open to all groups on their suggestions on how to improve the efforts. Let us not be onion-skinned if there are criticisms,” said Gariguez.
As this developed, the Senate is opening another inquiry into the aftermath of Yolanda this week, this time focusing on alleged profiteering from the construction of “substandard” homes for survivors in eastern Visayas.
The committee on public works has invited Lacson to shed light on his earlier statement about a possible collusion between contractors and a local politician to profit from the construction of bunkhouses.
Lacson had tapped the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group to investigate reports that some were pocketing 30 to 35-percent commissions.
“I believe Secretary Lacson could provide the committee with invaluable information that would help us shed light on the alleged anomaly surrounding the construction of the bunkhouses for Yolanda survivors,’’ said Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., chair of the public works committee.
The first hearing is set for Wednesday.
The committee also invited architect and urban planner Felino Palafox Jr. and Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson.
Palafox earlier observed that the bunkhouses were “substandard’’ and “undersized,’’ hence, unfit for habitation. Singson, on the other hand, denied charges the bunkhouses were overpriced and substandard.
On the heels of the reports of anomalies, Marcos filed a resolution seeking an inquiry that would institute correct measures and ensure the safety of Yolanda survivors.
“It is crucial to look into these issues to make sure that the victims of Yolanda will no longer be victimized further by corruption and abuses perpetrated by the callous culprits who take advantage of the desolate condition in the affected areas,’’ he had said.
Lacson hits politicians hampering rehab efforts
Lacson hopes to complete Visayas rehab by mid-2016
Rehab czar Lacson to count on private sector
Click here for more weather related news.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.