Lacson to step down as Yolanda rehab czar

MANILA, Philippines – Panfilo Lacson will step down from his post as the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery by February 2015, saying that his office has already served its purpose.

Lacson, in an interview on dzBB radio on Sunday, December 21, said that he will step down once the post-Super Typhoon Yolanda reconstruction and rehabilitation duties are formally transferred to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

He said he has submitted his letter of resignation, but has yet to talk to President Benigno Aquino III about his plan.

"'Yong aking irrevocable resignation, sa middle of February [pa]. Hindi puwedeng nandyan ako. Slowly dapat mag-fade away na ako sa scene," he said. (My irrevocable resignation will be in the middle of February. I should not be there anymore. I should slowly fade away from the scene.)

In the dzBB interview, Lacson said he has asked for a one month period for a smooth transition of the OPARR's tasks to the NDRRMC, and will start on the first working day of January.

He said he believes the President will "see the wisdom" of the transition from the OPARR to NDRRMC. He added that it is appropriate for the NDRRMC to handle the continuing reconstruction and recovery efforts.

Earlier, Lacson submitted a proposal to Malacañang to extend the scope of the NDRRMC to include rehabilitation.

'CEO without a budget'

He was appointed in the Cabinet-level position by Aquino a year ago to oversee the rebuilding of areas ravaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

At the beginning of his term as rehab chief, he lamented the "weak" powers given to his office, saying it had no legal weight and powerless over the billion-peso budget allotted for the Yolanda-ravaged areas – which earned him the tag “CEO without a budget.” (READ: Indonesian rehab czar: Give Lacson more powers)

He had earlier expressed that he had been tempted to quit at times, because his responsibilities far outweigh the mandate the President gave him. However, he said he "couldn't quit" because "[his] conscience will bother [him]."

He also said there have been officials – even Cabinet members – who were "incorrigibly uncooperative," which slowed down rehab efforts.  – Rappler.com