Ping recalls typhoon rehab frustration

November 06, 2018
Panfilo Lacson
Panfilo Lacson

AS the 5th anniversary of typhoon Yolanda approaches, Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson remembers the alleged lack of support he got from the national government when he was tasked to head the rehabilitation of the devastated provinces.

“Hindi lang hindi pinondohan. Pati ako nun walang suportang pondo,” Lacson stressed. “Maraming natapos but no thanks to the government, but many thanks to the NGO’s and private as well as business sector.”

Lacson was named by former President Benigno Aquino III as the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR) after typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) landed on November 8, 2013.

He said that in compliance with his mandate as PARR, he was able to craft an 8-volume, 8,000-page Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP) with a P167 billion budgetary requirement.

CRRP was produced with the help from local and international non-government organizations (NGOs) and private sector but with little support from the national government.

“That document consisted of a detailed and elaborate description of the 5 W’s (what, why, where, when and how) in order to accomplish a build-back-better vision for the 171 cities and municipalities devastated by Haiyan, locally known as typhoon Yolanda,” Lacson explained.

Unfortunately, Lacson continued, while the CRRP was approved by then President Aquino, very little budget support was appropriated to help the typhoon victims in the affected areas.

The senator added that most of the infrastructure projects like hospitals, housing units, school buildings and others were built with donations from the private and business sector.

“If not for the technical support and assistance provided particularly by the USAID, UNDP, JICA and World Bank, I do not know how we could have accomplished our task,” Lacson said.

“In sum, Haiyan is one chapter in my public service career I will never forget -- extremely difficult, many times frustrating, yet satisfying only because I worked with very competent staff and consultants who didn’t mind the limitations imposed by our own government in all aspects,” Lacson added.