MANILA — Secretary Panfilo Lacson is stepping down as Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR) on February 10 next year, once his duties are transferred to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
“We agreed in principle to wind up my duties as PARR until February 10 when I shall have completed the transition to NDRRMC, where the four phase cycle of addressing disasters rightfully belongs,” Secretary Lacson said in a message coursed through Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. on Tuesday.
Lacson said he explained to President Benigno S. Aquino III the timeliness of the transition, since the NDRRMC law will be under mandatory review by Congress on or before May 27 next year, as stated in Section 27 of Republic Act 10121.
He also said he had a good discussion with the President regarding the wisdom of strengthening the NDRRMC, especially in the area of rehabilitation and recovery, which he noted is the biggest gap among the four thematic areas.
He was referring to the areas of prevention and mitigation, handled by the Department of Science and Technology; preparedness, spearheaded by the Department of the Interior and Local Government; response and relief through the Department of Social Welfare and Development; and rehabilitation and recovery, handled by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
Lacson said he wants to elevate the Office of Civil Defense administrator and executive director of the NDRRMC as co-vice chair with NEDA to handle rehabilitation in a permanent capacity.
The Budget Department must also automatically release the P80 billion for 2015 to NDRRMC to have just one layer of vetting to fund the recovery of Eastern Visayas, he said, noting that the President listened intently and took notes of their discussion.
President Aquino appointed Lacson as rehabilitation secretary to lead the rehabilitation and recovery efforts in areas devastated by super Typhoon Yolanda last year.