FORMER senator Panfilo Lacson is now officially a member of President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s Cabinet.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. on Tuesday said that Lacson’s appointment papers had been signed by the President.
“The Office of the Executive Secretary has released the appointment papers of former senator Panfilo Lacson as Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery, with Cabinet rank, as well as Memorandum Order 62, ‘Providing for the Functions of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery,” Coloma said.
The President also appointed Danilo Antonio as undersecretary in the Office of the President. He will be assisting Lacson.
Lacson attended his first Cabinet meeting yesterday afternoon where details of the rehabilitation plan for Yolanda-affected areas were discussed.
Coloma said that as presidential assistant, Lacson shall “act as the overall manager and coordinator of rehabilitation, recovery and reconstruction efforts of government departments, agencies and instrumentalities in the affected areas” including Samar, Leyte, Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Capiz, Aklan, Antique, Iloilo and Palawan where Typhoon Yolanda wrought “widespread destruction, substantial damage and death.”
The former lawmaker will also coordinate with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and consult with concerned local government units in the formulation of plans and programs for the rehabilitation, recovery and development of the affected areas.
“The plans and programs include an overall strategic vision and integrated short-term, medium-term and long-term programs, which shall be submitted to the President for approval,” Coloma said.
Lacson shall also exercise oversight over agencies that are directly involved in the rehabilitation program and he may propose funding support for its implementation.
He has the authority to call upon any department, bureau, office, agency, or instrumentality of the government, including government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs), government financial institutions (GFIS), LGUs, and request nongovernment organizations (NGOs), the private sector and other entities for assistance and as needed.
Coloma said that the President and Lacson had discussed how to fast track the rehabilitation efforts.
“I believe they had their conversation when the matter was first broached to him, and from then on, Secretary Lacson has taken on the initiative to initiate consultations with knowledgeable resource persons,” he told reporters.
“He [Lacson] has actively sought the inputs of stakeholder groups, and has even stated that he is pleased with the expressions of support and encouragements, especially from the private sector. And he believes that such support will be very helpful in accelerating the pace of the rehabilitation efforts,” he added.