Govt disbands reconstruction body

THE Aquino government decided to decommission the Public-Private Reconstruction Commission that was created last year to oversee and raise funds for the rehabilitation of areas devastated by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.

A source revealed that the decision was made after the body was relegated to just being a “monitoring and coordinating body.”

It was also excluded from the agencies and departments that received funding for next year’s P1.645 trillion budget.

The commission was jointly headed by former Finance secretary Margarito Teves and businessman Manuel Pangilinan. It was tasked to determine the cost of rehabilitation and raise at least $1 billion from foreign donors for the post-typhoon rebuilding.

The commission was given a private sector partner, the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation, which was headed by Pangilinan.

An executive order signed by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in October covered the commission’s creation.

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said he was not aware of the fate of the commission. “I did not assume (its chairmanship) and none whatsoever was turned over to me,” he said.

He added that he was “not even aware of its accomplishments.”

Purisima ordered his chief of staff, Luis Abad, to verify the “whereabouts” of the public-private typhoon commission.

Sen. Ralph Recto, Senate ways and means chairman, earlier asked if the typhoon commission was able to make an accounting of the funds that were raised and of the projects that were funded.

He said the report of the typhoon commission will be instructive to determine its mitigating impact on agriculture after the sector exhibited a contraction during the first semester of 2010. Dino Ng

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