Lawmakers eye creation of disaster dep’t to fast track gov’t programs

admin   •   March 7, 2018   •   3263

(Left-Right) Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Sen. Gringo Honasan

MANILA, Philippines — The oversight committee on the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 has questioned the slow implementation of programs and rehabilitation efforts in affected areas of Zamboanga siege and super typhoon Yolanda last 2013.

According to Sen. Gringo Honasan, until now there are still displaced families in Tacloban City and even in Zamboanga.

Because of the seemingly slow implementation of government programs, Sen. Panfilo Lacson believes it is high time to establish a department that will focus on disaster management.

“Na-experience ko ito noong nasa Yolanda ako, na wala kaming ginawa kundi mag-meeting and very short sa implementation. Kung meron talagang lead agency that will assume all responsibility at least yung implementation mapapabalis,” said Lacson.

(I experienced this during Yolanda wherein we did nothing but conduct meetings and very short implementation. If there could be a lead agency that will assume all responsibility, at least the implementation would be faster.)

Some government line agencies support the said proposal.

“There should be a form of unitary command that will deal with disasters,” Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) Asec. Kristoffer James Purisima said.

“Ang major coordinator ngayon ay (the major coordinator is the) Office of Civil Defense. Definitely kailangan silang palakasin (we need to strengthen it). Kailangang dagdagan ng tao (we need to add more people),” said Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) officer-in-charge Usec. Renato Solidum Jr.

To date, a bill creating an agency or department on disaster management is being undertaken by the technical working group in the Lower House.

Lacson said he will push for the passage of its counterpart bill in the Senate.

If this will become law, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and OCD will eventually be abolished. — Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue






Lacson advises Robredo not to join anti-drug ops; focus on cutting drug supply

Robie de Guzman   •   November 11, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson has advised Vice President Leni Robredo to focus more on reducing the supply of illegal drugs in the country instead of joining an anti-drug operation.

Lacson gave the advice after he met with Robredo on Friday to discuss what she could do in her new role as the co-chairperson of the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD), which President Rodrigo Duterte handed to her last week.

The senator said Robredo’s presence in drug stings might compromise the operation due to security protocols as the country’s second-highest official.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency director-general Aaron Aquino earlier challenged Robredo to join one of the anti-drug operations, to which she accepted.

READ: NCRPO chief prepared to let VP Leni join drug busts

“Sa security pa lang, nakakalat na security niya, mate-telegraph ang operation. But they could make some arrangements paano isasagawa yan,” he told UNTV News in a phone interview.

“Pero from briefing sa jumpoff tapos sa mismong operation, di pwedeng pabayaan mo Bise Presidente ng bansa. Pangalawang pinakamataas na opisyal ng bansa natin, ilalagay mo ang buhay sa alanganin dahil susugod siya roon,” he added.

Lacson, a former chief of the Philippine National Police, said the focus of the drug war has been on the demand side which mostly targets drug users and peddlers on the street.

He pointed out that cutting the supply would make the street value of drugs prohibitive and take down big-time dealers.

“Kapag supply yung focus mo, concentrate mo, unang una magiging prohibitive ang presyo, Pangalawa, siyempre mga big-time drug dealers ang mga mahi-hit mo,” he said.

Lacson also said that further strengthening the process of intelligence gathering against those involved in the narcotics trade would also help in the anti-drug campaign.

He added that during his stint as PNP chief, he maintained close coordination with his foreign counterparts and drug enforcement units in the United States, Australia, Hong Kong, and Macau.

Lacson also said that he gave names of some people who could help Robredo with the law enforcement part of the job but did not elaborate on who these are. – RRD (with details from Nel Maribojoc)

Lacson calls on colleagues to bare amendments in 2020 budget bill

Robie de Guzman   •   November 5, 2019

Senator Panfilo Lacson

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday challenged his fellow lawmakers to bare the amendments they made to the proposed 2020 national budget following his allegations that billions-worth of “pork” funds were “parked” in the budget bill.

Lacson said such a show of transparency would dispel suspicions that the amendments are stained with “pork barrel” funds.

“We should make everything public. That includes all amendments we submit, whether institutional or individual,” Lacson said in an interview on DZBB radio.

“Most if not all lawmakers have their own websites. Why not post their amendments there, for the public to scrutinize?” he added.

Lacson lamented that in previous years, some lawmakers submit their amendments to their respective finance or appropriations chairpersons without having them go through floor deliberations.

“Instead of having their amendments undergo scrutiny in-floor deliberations, some lawmakers propose their amendments verbally, or even scribble them on napkins,” he said.

The lawmaker said that during Congress’ deliberation on the 2019 budget, he used his website to post his proposed institutional changes.

Institutional amendments pertain to programs and projects that have undergone planning and vetting, and are based on requests from concerned implementing agencies.

Lacson said such institutional amendments are proposed by lawmakers who find merit in them after vetting with relevant agencies.

Individual amendments, meanwhile, pertain to projects based mainly on lawmakers’ intervention and are considered legislators’ pet projects.

“In most cases, these do not involve consultations with the implementing agencies concerned, nor are they part of the Local Development Plans of the Local Government Units,” Lacson said.

He added that such programs can be considered pork barrel, based on the 2013 ruling of the Supreme Court that deems as unconstitutional projects that are “whimsical and arbitrary.”

The 2013 Supreme Court ruling declaring pork barrel as unconstitutional covers “all informal practices of similar import and effect, which the Court similarly deems to be acts of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.”

In pushing for transparency in the national budget, Lacson said people have the right to know where their taxes are going, especially amid the country’s growing debt that now stands at more than P7.9 trillion.

“The national budget involves the people’s money. It should benefit the people and not a few senators or congressmen or even government officials who implement projects. And the budget is funded by our taxes, as well as borrowings if our tax collections fall short,” he said.

READ: Sen. Lacson urged to identify questionable P20-B in proposed 2020 national budget

Bill seeking to penalize children abandoning old, ailing parents filed in Senate

Robie de Guzman   •   September 30, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson has filed a bill seeking to penalize children who abandon their old and ailing parents.

In filing Senate Bill No. 29 or the “Parents Welfare Act of 2019 requires children to provide necessary support for the aging, sick and incapacitated parents.

The proposal, which Lacson had first filed in the 17th Congress, seeks to further strengthen filial responsibility and to make it a criminal offense in case of flagrant violation thereof.

The measure states that a parent who is in need of support may file a petition before the court and ask for the issuance of a support order against their children who fail or refuse to provide the necessary assistance.

It added that the Public Attorney’s Office will provide the legal representation of the parent in need of support and that no court fees will be applied.

Lacson proposes in his bill the penalty of imprisonment of one to six months or a fine of P100,000 if the respondent fails to give support for three consecutive months without justifiable cause.

“Whoever, having the care or protection of a parent in need of support, leaves such parent in any place with the intention of wholly abandoning the latter shall be punished with imprisonment of six years to 10 years and a fine of not less than P300,000,” Lacson said in his bill.

The bill also seeks to establish old age homes for the elderly, sick or otherwise incapacitated parents in every province and highly urbanized city.


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