PRESIDENTIAL adviser on relief and rehabilitation Panfilo Lacson on Monday chided Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez for causing delays in the city’s rehabilitation efforts, saying the local executive had politics in mind instead of the quick recovery of the city from Super Typhoon Yolanda.
“You should forget personal and political agenda and think about your constituents,” Lacson said during a stakeholders forum in reference to the local chief executive whose performance he described as “below par.”
Lacson said Romualdez lacked political will, unlike the local executives from other areas that were similarly ravaged by the typhoon. He also accused Romualdez of hosting anti-government protests following the discovery of placards bearing anti-government slogans at the back of city hall.
“We are calling on all local government chiefs to put the interest of your constituents before any personal or political agenda you may have,” he added. It was estimated that more than P6 billion have been poured to various projects in the city but Lacson bewailed Tacloban was slow “over-all.”
The rehabilitation chief’s statements negated that of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, who claimed that there was no problem with government efforts in Tacloban City, the bailiwick of the opposition Romualdez clan.
Roxas, in an interview last week, said the DILG released P200 million for Tacloban. He was defending the decision of President Benigno Aquino 3rd to skip Tacloban and visit Guiuan town in Eastern Samar to commemorate the first year of Yolanda.
Lacson said the DILG contributed P230.4 million for Tacloban as requested by Romualdez himself for the rehabilitation of the city hall, public market and the city center.
The mayor, he added, even asked to “realign” some funds.
“We will continue to extend a hand of cooperation to Tacloban. We will not give up on Tacloban. Nobody will be left out,” Lacson vowed.
Earlier, Romualdez criticized the government for the “very slow” response and expressed hopes that the projects will pick up in January.
He lamented that because of red tape, shortage of manpower and lack of resources, the recovery of the city was only about 50 percent.
Malacañang also on Monday vowed that the government will ensure the proper implementation of the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan in Yolanda areas.
“The President and the Cabinet remain focused on ensuring that the CRRP programs, projects and activities are implemented properly, and that the ‘build back better’ principles are being followed,” Secretary Hermino Coloma of the Presidential Communications Operations Office said.
Vice President Jejomar Binay, who was also present in the forum, said President Benigno Aquino 3rd issued Administrative Order 44 to expedite the construction of houses for families rendered homeless by Typhoon Yolanda.
AO 44 streamlines the process of issuance of permits, certifications, clearances and licenses for housing and resettlement projects in Yolanda affected areas. It directs all government agencies concerned to observe these protocols or faced sanctions for non-compliance.