POLITICIAN MOBILIZING LEFTISTS FOR RALLIES IN MANILA – LACSON

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Rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson on Monday said a local politician in Samar-Leyte area is recuiting people belonging to militant groups, including the New People’s Army and the Communist Party of the Philippines, and sends them to Manila to stage rallies against  programs he is implementing.

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“We have received information from intelligence people of the national police and the Armed Forces that leftists individuals are being transported from Yolanda-stricken areas to Manila,” Lacson told a forum in Manila, referring to the super typhoon that hit Eastern Visayas last year.

He said these recruits are brought to the nation’s capital in buses from Leyte and Samar provinces that were devastated by Yolanda.

Lacson did not name the local official but said the politician is hard-headed, moneyed and very influential in the area.

Meanwhile, he said the two Cabinet officials who he had said were  blocking implementation of Yolanda recovery programs have  started to participate in planning the programs and releasing the needed documents, including those involving funding, for the recovery programs.

A source of The Manila Times said right after Lacson revealed to the media that two Cabinet secretaries were not attending meetings, the two officials sent their trusted subordinates to him to represent them in the meetings.

The rehabilitation czar said five clusters have been formed to answer needs of typhoon victims, namely infrastructure, livelihood, health, shelter and support services.

According to the former senator, he has suggested a bottom-up approach, which  requires 171 cities and municipalities to come up with their own rehabilitation plans.

He said Cebu and Leyte provinces have submitted their plans, aside from Leyte’s capital Tacloban City, which presented its plan last Saturday.

This week, Western Samar, Biliran and Aklan are among those expected to submit their rehabilitation plans.

Lacson said of some 1,272 hectares needed to relocate households to safe housing sites, only 248 hectares are being developed.

“We asked the Department of Agrarian Reform and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to identify and show to us possible public domains [that]we can utilize as resettlement areas,” he added.

Or else, Lacson said, a good part of the rehabilitation fund will be used to buy private lands.

Private donors are involved in recovery efforts, according to him, with 48 firms helping fund 1,333 projects, including construction of 500 housing units by a Filipino-Chinese group.

Lacson called on these donors to stop sending boats that have exceeded the number needed by local fishermen.

“What we need now are processing plants to preserve their catch,” he said.

Lacson also called on other groups and individuals to help in replanting of coconut trees.

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