Lacson useless, say ‘Yolanda’ victims
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—A group composed of victims of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in Eastern Visayas is urging rehabilitation czar Panfilo “Ping” Lacson to resign because he seemed to be more focused on the pork barrel scam instead of helping Yolanda victims get back on their feet.
Efleda Bautista, convenor of People Surge, said it has been more than six months since Yolanda devastated many parts of the Visayas but Lacson has so far not extended any assistance to typhoon victims.
“He is useless,” she told the Inquirer in an interview.
The People Surge has been calling on the national government to give each victim P40,000 in cash to enable them to construct their houses and to scrap the no-build zone policy that prohibits residents from constructing their houses within 40 meters from the coastline.
The group also wants the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to continue providing relief goods to typhoon victims.
Lacson has been in the limelight lately, not for his job as Yolanda rehabilitation czar but for meddling in the pork barrel mess and providing an unsigned list of 11 senators and 66 congressmen who allegedly benefited from pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
Bautista said the People Surge wants Lacson to resign as chair of the Presidential Assistance for Recovery and Rehabilitation, an office designated to oversee the rehabilitation of areas hit by Yolanda on Nov. 8, 2013, for being ineffective.
“He claimed that the municipal and city governments have not submitted their rehabilitation master plans. But as rehabilitation czar, he should not wait for these master plans. He should do the work,” Bautista said.
She said several local government units (LGUs) affected by Yolanda had already submitted their master plans to Lacson’s office but until now, these LGUs haven’t received anything.
“That is why these municipal governments have chosen to work with private groups, because they know they will be given immediate assistance, unlike our government which practically has given nothing to the victims,” Bautista said.
She also said the financial assistance extended by Interior Secretary Mar Roxas to mayors of Yolanda-hit areas like Tacloban would not benefit the typhoon victims themselves. Joey A. Gabieta, Inquirer Visayas, and Erika Sauler
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