TACLOBAN CITY, (PNA) — Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo M. Lacson said the national government has already poured in P8.09 billion funds for the rehabilitation of this typhoon-ravaged city.

In his visit to this city today, Lacson said the amount represents more than half of the P15 billion requested and approved budget for the city under the comprehensive rehabilitation and recovery plan (CRRP).

“No matter what issues will come out, we cannot leave Tacloban City behind in the rehabilitation process, but we need information from the local level since we are not omnipotent and almighty to see everything,” Lacson said.

Lacson said his earlier pronouncement of P6.1 billion allotted for Tacloban was actually higher by P2 billion to include outlay for the rehabilitation and development of the city’s Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport.

Of the P8.09 billion for this city alone, the P3 billion was disbursed for repair of roads and bridges, P367.44 million for social services, P4 billion for permanent relocation, and P714 million for livelihood assistance.

“Numbers don’t lie since these are monitored and validated by different sources. I came here today to see for myself if all these projects are really ongoing. This is the time for us to tell people that we are not neglecting Tacloban,” Lacson told reporters.

The P3 billion for infrastructure repair include the P184 million from the Department of the Interior and Local Government for the rehabilitation of local government buildings.

The amount represents 80 percent of the P234 million requirements to repair the city hall, public market and other local government structures.

“Unlike funds for rehabilitation of local government buildings, bulk of the money went through implementing agencies like the NHA (National Housing Authority), DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways), and DTI (Department of Trade and Industry),” Lacson added.

The official made a detailed report of assistance for this city after a recent squabble between him and Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez. The OPARR chief criticized the mayor for being uncooperative while the latter hit the national government for neglecting the city.

The mayor even asked Lacson to step down from his post, but the cabinet official responded that he would just help instead of resigning.

Reached for comment, Romualdez said he’s not arguing with the national government. “I am just answering serious accusations that were made against me and against people of Tacloban. I have to answer accusations even in a wrong forum.” (Sarwell Q. Meniano/PNA)