Former Senator Panfilo Lacson hopes to finish rebuilding typhoon stricken areas in the Visayas by 2016, when President Benigno Aquino ends his term.
Speaking at the weekly Kapihan sa Diamond Hotel news forum, Lacson, the newly appointed “rehabilitation czar,” admitted the task is difficult but doable, based on discussions he had with various consultants.
He said he expects to be showered with criticisms but he will not let them to distract him from his job.
“Politics and dynamics could be among the obstacles so I have to stay focus because if I allow myself to be distracted by the criticisms the mission will fail,” he said.
He said his priority is to rehabilitate all areas affected by Yolanda, unless there are other places that have been damaged before the super typhoon.
Among the concerns that need his immediate attention are the missing and destroyed land titles particularly in Tacloban City. Lacson said he is coordinating with the Land Registration Authority (LRA) to find out what to do.
He said the absence of land titles could give land grabbers the opening to take advantage of the situation.
“Missing land titles is one of the concerns because how can you establish ownership and start restoration of houses without it,” he said.
Lacson accepted his new appointment Sunday night.
As head of the government’s reconstruction efforts, he said he intends to closely coordinate with local and national government.
The government expects to raise P130 billion for rehabilitation next year, which includes the P14.6 billion supplemental budget sourced from the unused Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and P20 billion from the unused calamity fund of selected line agencies.
The P100 billion, on the other hand, will come from the proposed 2014 national budget– P80 billion in unprogrammed funds and P20 billion in programmed funds.
The President has yet to sign the executive order that would formalize Lacson’s appointment as rehabilitation head.