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PNoy signs order giving Lacson Cabinet-level post

December 10, 2013 10:33am

(Updated 2:15 p.m.) President Benigno Aquino III has signed the memorandum order creating a Cabinet-level rehabilitation czar post for former Senator Panfilo Lacson, Malacañang announced Tuesday.

At a press conference, Presidential Communications Operations Office head Herminio Coloma Jr. said the Office of the Executive Secretary has released the appointment papers of Lacson as Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery with Cabinet rank.

He said Aquino has also signed Memorandum Order No. 62, which defines the functions of Lacson's position.

Aside from Lacson, Coloma said Aquino has also appointed Danilo Antonio as an Undersecretary in the Office of the President. Coloma said Lacson recommended Antonio to assist him in the rehabilitation efforts.

Coloma said the appointments and the MO were signed by the President on December 6 while the appointment papers were transmitted on December 9.  

Lacson's duties

MO 62 states that as presidential assistant, Lacson shall “act as the over-all manager and coordinator of rehabilitation, recovery and reconstruction efforts of government departments, agencies and instrumentalities in the affected areas.”

Included in these affected areas are Samar, Leyte, Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Capiz, Aklan, Antique, Iloilo and Palawan, where Typhoon Yolanda wrought “widespread destruction, substantial damage, and death.”

Lacson is also tasked to “coordinate with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and its member-agencies and consult with the concerned local government units in the formulation of plans and programs for the rehabilitation, recovery and development of the affected areas.”

Coloma said 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.

Lacson shall also “exercise oversight over the relevant government agencies with respect to the implementation of the plans and programs” and submit reports on the implementation of the plans and programs to the President.

He is also authorized to “call upon any department, bureau, office, agency, or instrumentality of the government, including Government-Owned or Controlled Corporations (GOCCs), Government Financial Institutions (GFIS), LGUs, and request non-government organizations (NGOs), the private sector, and other entities for assistance as the circumstances and exigencies may require in carrying out his mandate.”

“All departments, bureaus, offices, agencies, or instrumentalities of the government, including GOCCs and GFIs, are hereby directed to render full assistance and cooperation to the Presidential Assistant as may be required to carry out his functions pursuant to this Order. LGUs, NGOs, the private sector, and other entities for assistance as the exigencies may require,” said the order.

Coloma, however, said that Cabinet officials are still expected to continue their tasks as previously assigned by the President.


Lacson is also expected to “propose funding support for the implementation of the plans and programs” but Coloma said the former lawmaker won't have control over the proposed billion-peso rehabilitation fund.

“Pag nakita natin yung budget nakatakda doon saang department yun nakalaan.  Wala pong tanggapan si Sen. Lacson sa national budget,” Coloma said during an ambush interview.

Last week, Lacson announced that he has accepted the post and has even committed to finishing rehabilitation efforts before the President's term ends in 2016.

Palace officials were quoted as saying that Lacson was Aquino's only choice for the position.

Lacson served as senator from 2001 to 2013. Prior to that, he was the Philippine National Police director general for two years. — RSJ/KBK, GMA News

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