To help hasten ‘Yolanda’ housing projects

TACLOBAN CITY- The National Housing Authority (NHA) will now allow local government units to build houses intended for survivors of super typhoon ‘Yolanda.’
This was disclosed by Rizalde Mediavillo, NHA regional manager, during a congressional inquiry on the status of housing projects located in areas pummeled by Yolanda in 2013.
Mediavillo said that among the local government units that signified interest to construct housing units for typhoon survivors who totally lost their houses is the municipal government of Maydolong in Eastern Samar.
According to the NHA official, about 139 units are to be constructed in Maydolong, one of the towns in Eastern Samar that suffered destructions due to Yolanda that hit the region on November 8,2013.
Mediavillo said that they are only awaiting a formal letter from the Maydolong municipal government for the NHA to download the needed funds and for the project to start.
“The letter to NHA is to make it official that the LGU has the intent to implement the project and they want the NHA to download the fund to them,” Mediavillo said.
NHA will conduct monitoring once the LGU starts the construction of housing projects, he added.
Mediavillo made this disclosure during a public inquiry conducted by the committee on housing and urban development of the House of Representatives held in this city last Friday (Sept.1).
Lack of takers among contractors was among the reasons cited by the NHA why construction of housing units intended for Yolanda survivors appeared to be on a snail-paced.
Close to four years after Yolanda pummeled the Visayas, only 48,950 units were completed out of the 205, 125 housing units targeted by the government.
And out of this number, only 13, 997 or 28.6 are occupied.
Here in the region, Yolanda housing projects in the provinces of Biliran and Samar have zero occupancy, Eastern Samar with 289 units occupied, 988 units in Leyte has 988 units and 9,801 of these units are occupied in Tacloban, considered as the ground zero of the world’s strongest typhoon to hit inland.
Maydolong Mayor Henry Afable said that they are very much willing to do the housing work if only the NHA will provide them the needed funds.
At P290,000 of each unit, the municipal government need about P40.31 million for them to do the construction.
Afable also said that they have already identified the location where these houses are to be constructed.
This move of the NHA could also benefit the town of Hernani, among the worst-hit areas in Eastern Samar due to Yolanda.
Mayor Edgar Boco said that they have enough manpower and skilled personnel who could do the project.
“What we lack is the needed funds. But we are just willing to do the project ourselves,” Boco said.
It was learned from Boco that the NHA-funded resettlement project at their town consisting of 989 units has yet to be completed.
Committee chair Alfredo Benitez of Negros Occidental 3rd District welcomed the response of the NHA to allow local government units to do the housing projects.
Under the present setup, the NHA conducts bidding for contractors to build these houses.
But during the hearing, it was discovered that the winning bidders passed the work to another contractors which only result to the delay of the project or with a poor quality of work. ROEL T. AMAZONA