During the interview, Ms. Davila asked Mr. Lacson on the update of his “Yolanda” rehabilitation program.
In response to her query, Senator Lacson was happy to report that he has recently submitted a P 170.9 Billion Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan which he called CRRP specifically for the areas devastated by Mega Storm Yolanda in November last year.
According to Lacson, President Aquino was appreciative in receiving the 8,000 paged, eight-volume report presented to him last week, after the memorial event in honor of Cory Aquino, the President’s mother.
Mr. Lacson explained that the CRRP Master Plan includes Local Government Units (LGU’s) Recovery and Rehabiltation Plans for the following “Yolanda” devastated areas: Leyte, Eastern and Western Samar, Iloilo and Tacloban City, encompassing 104 out of the 171 Yolanda-affected municipalities which were approved for rehabilitation by the President last month.
Further, Mr, Lacson said that per President Aquino’s approval, around P96.0 billion may be appropriated by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for use in various rehabilitation projects.
Per Mr. Lacson, the CRRP Master Plan includes: infrastructure, permanent housing resettlement, social services, livelihood, medical/hospital rehab and educational (schools) rehab programs. As the Rehab Czar heading the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (OPARR), he serves as the chief “coordinator” who “monitors, oversees and reports to the President on the various programs, activities and projects being undertaken by all Cabinet departments, national government agencies and local government agencies (LGUs).”
The total cost of Mr. Lacson’s CRRP Plan is estimated at “P170.9 Billion, which altogether includes additional programs such as environmental concerns like climate adaptation change, soil and land research and other geosciences needs.”
Colleague Karen Davila also questioned Mr. Lacson on the reason why there are still displaced Yolanda survivors living in Tacloban’s “tent city.” Now eight months after the supertyphoon, Mr. Lacson said that they have already built “transiitonal housing” for around “3,000 displaced survivors but they’re still looking for buildable land” in order to resettle these people into a permanent housing program. He said that in their (OPARR) search for “buildable land” they have come up with three categories of land to build on:
- Safe Zones (inland areas far from the Gulf waters);
- Controlled Zones ( potential areas where they can build);
- Hazard Zones (these areas considered “no build zones”).
In closing, Mr. Lacson said that they are “hoping to achieve at least 80% completion of their priority projects before the end of President Aquino’s term. However, he added that the plans include several long-term projects which would trickle down to the next administration to pursue.”
On that note, Karen Davila suggested that Mr. Lacson should stay as the Rehab Czar to oversee the culmination of his pet project. And, for the rest of us, all I can say is – “let’s just wait and see.”