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Lacson bats for permanent agency to handle reconstruction in calamity areas

Former Sen. Panfilo Lacson. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Former Sen. Panfilo Lacson. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–President Aquino’s point man in the reconstruction of areas devastated by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan) wants another government agency to handle the job permanently by early 2015.

Panfilo Lacson, Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR), said on Thursday the job could be included in the mandate of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

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“It dawned on me that a permanent agency should be equipped to handle all functions related to preparedness, recovery and rehabilitation since we are a typhoon-prone country,” Lacson said in a statement.

“If we can institutionalize the lessons we learned from Yolanda and have that in a permanent government agency, that would be good for the whole country,” Lacson added.

The presidential assistant, who earlier prepared the 8,000-page Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan for Yolanda-hit areas, said the law creating the NDRRMC would soon be reviewed, five years after it was enacted in May 2010.

Lacson said the review could include his proposal for a “smooth transfer” of his office’s job to a “permanent government agency.”

“After Typhoon ‘Ruby,’ some people asked if PARR would also extend its rehabilitation efforts to those newly affected Ruby-hit areas,” he said.

“One of the advantages of PARR is that it had the function of being the overall coordinator for all rehabilitation efforts, but PARR’s mandate only covers Yolanda-affected areas.”

Lacson said his office could begin the “transition as soon as possible so that the whole country, not just the Yolanda-hit areas, can be better prepared when the next calamity strikes.”

In the past, he said rehabilitation of calamity areas was handled by the National Economic and Development Authority, a setup he wanted revised.

“We’ve seen from our country’s experience that there is a lack of institutional capability for recovery and rehabilitation as shown by the creation of ad hoc bodies or task forces in response to big calamities like Typhoon Ondoy, Typhoon Pablo and the Bohol Earthquake,” he said.

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TAGS: Bohol earthquake, Calamity, disaster, disaster management, Disaster response, Earthquake, Hagupit, Haiyan, NDRRMC, Ondoy, Pablo, Panfilo Lacson, rebuilding, Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Ruby, Yolanda
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