Groups press Lacson’s ouster as rehab chief

Groups press Lacson’s ouster as rehab chief

 Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, barely two months after his appointment, isn’t earning support from various groups for him to lead the rehabilitation efforts in super typhoon “Yolanda”-devastated areas in Tacloban City and across Eastern Visayas.


This as fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and its regional chapter Pamalakaya-Eastern Visayas yesterday called on Lacson to quit his post after the former senator dismissed protesting survivors of Yolanda as “pawns of communist agitators out to destabilize the Aquino administration.”

“Mr. Lacson’s statement is like an endorsement for the Philippine military to harass, intimidate and murder survivors of Yolanda in Eastern Visayas because they work with militant organizations like Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) and Pamalakaya,” they stressed.

Instead of facing the legitimate issues raised by survivors, Lacson, on the one hand, refuses “to deal with them in a fair and square manner and on the other hand, pursues his old police career as attack dog of the reactionary establishment,” said Pamalakaya vice chairman Salvador France.

A national broadsheet quoted Lacson saying “it is becoming obvious that their agenda is destabilization and not the welfare of the Yolanda survivors,” as he questioned the motives of the People Surge, which the rehabilitation chief said is being used by leftist groups to destabilize the Aquino government.

Lacson said based on intelligence reports, the killer typhoon also affected the cadre infrastructure of the New People’s Army in Eastern Visayas, and that Bayan and groups affiliated with the multisectoral alliance as legal fronts are doing their jobs to rebuild the political infrastructure of the CPP-NPA-NDF in the region.

“If we did not know that Bayan is supporting the group, we can say that they are making these calls out of their bleeding hearts. But why are they suddenly calling for the President to step down? That sounds like destabilization to me,” Lacson said.

“They have made popular demands that would endear them to the people and earn them sympathy even if they know these are impossible to give — why ask for P40,000 when the government is ready to give them homes and why ask for the lifting of the no-build zones when you know this would endanger people?” Lacson added.

Pamalakaya is one of the organizations calling for the scrapping of the no-build zone policy and has named Lacson as one of the respondents in a petition it filed before the Department of Justice against the policy.
The militant fisherfolk alliance also asked the victims of Martial Law to support its objection to the appointment of Lacson as head of the government rehabilitation program in typhoon ravaged communities in Eastern Visayas.

“Let the dark and gory years of Martial Law remind all of us that the appointment of Lacson to the post is tantamount to placing Yolanda-devastated areas in a police state,” France stressed.
The militant group argued that survivors of the devastating typhoon were not asking for “police state” but complete and genuine rehabilitation program to bring back their lives to normal after the disaster that hit the region and 34 more provinces in November.
“Aquino and his men are really obsessed in dealing with the humanitarian crisis in Eastern Visayas with police brutality and authoritarian rule. The designation of Lacson, a well known implementor of Martial Law is a direct affront to the people of Eastern Visayas and to the collective interest of the people,” said the Pamalakaya leader.
“The news about Lacson’s role as rehabilitation chief of the Aquino administration appears like the revival of full-blown Martial Law in areas affected by super typhoon Yolanda. It is like Aquino paying homage to martial rule and to the very system that sent his father to the grave,” France said.
Charlie V. Manalo

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