Lacson eyes separate office for disaster rehabilitation, recovery

MANILA, Jan. 27 (PNA) — Presidential Adviser for Rehabilitation and Recovery Secretary Panfilo M. Lacson may recommend the creation of a permanent office focusing on rehabilitation and recovery from calamities.

Lacson, in a briefing at Malacañang on Monday, said this is due to the country being visited by an average of some 20 cyclones a year.

“We’ll be hit by calamities at least 20 times a year, depende sa magnitude (It depends on the magnitude). We might as well have an institution that will focus on dealing with rehabilitation and recovery,” he said.

He said the proposed office would be different from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), which has its own mandate.

Besides, he said such an office could help ensure continued help for affected areas if a calamity hits another country and the international community’s attention is diverted.

“Once another calamity of similar magnitude tatama sa ibang lugar…iiwanan tayo ng multilaterals, that’s my biggest nightmare (Once another calamity of similar magnitude hits another country, we may be left behind by multilateral agencies. That’s my biggest nightmare),” he said.

Meanwhile, Lacson assured they are thinking of ways to accelerate the rebuilding of Tacloban City, which he said is the hub of economic activities in the region.

But he also stressed the structures there should meet minimum requirements, including being able to withstand winds of up to 250 kph and quakes of up to Intensity 9.

Hospitals should be able to convert into communication and command centers, with their own power generator facilities and continuous supply of food, water and medicines. (PNA)