By Jeff Canoy
Nov. 10, 2014
According to the Former Senator and PNP Chief, P50 billion pesos have been disbursed for government projects and programs aimed at rehabilitating Yolanda-hit areas. There are also ongoing projects funded by the private sector.
But if the numbers aren’t lying, for Lacson, claims of Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez are another story.
Romualdez had said the city government has not received a single centavo from the national government.
“Tacloban, you’ve got a problem,” said Senator Panfilo Lacson, “Admittedly, it’s below par. Romualdez says, ‘not a single centavo from the national government,’ but the city government has received 6.1 billion pesos.”
Lacson adds, more than P230 million pesos have been transferred to Tacloban City by the interior and local government department to repair the City Hall, Civic Center, and public market.
But Lacson claims Romualdez suddenly realigned the budget. Instead of repairs, the mayor planned on building a new City Hall, which doesn’t fall under the DILG but the DPWH.
“That is not right, that is not correct. That is a lie,” said Lacson. “They were downloaded to him, but now he wants to realign the budget to build a totally new City Hall. I don’t know what happened to the funds. We will check. We will check tomorrow.”
Lacson also says Romualdez asked him to facilitate a three-month advance on the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA). Lacson says he was able to get the DBM to give Tacloban a six-month advance. But he was surprised that Romualdez suddenly turned down the advance.
“Ito ang mukhang gago na tinutulungan na sya, tas ayaw pa niya ,” said Lacson.
Lacson cited Tanauan as one of the towns that other Yolanda-hit areas should follow. The town’s mayor is from the opposition, but has placed the needs of his constituents first, before any political agenda.
Despite the issues surrounding Tacloban, Lacson says rehabilitation will continue in the city.
Meanwhile, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) praised the Philippine government for its rehabilitation efforts.
“There is discipline, not like in other countries,” said Kimeo Takeya, visiting senior advisor for JICA.
While it was all praises inside the venue, outside, protesters denounced the government for the slow pace of recovery in Yolanda-hit areas.