TACLOBAN CITY- A group of supertyphoon ‘Yolanda’ survivors in the region called on the national government to demolish the substandard housing units which they refused to occupy five years after the deadly storm hit the region.
“First, they should destroy the substandard units because we believe that almost 80 percent of them are defective. It doesn’t matter whether the funds are wasted as long as our children are in a safe place,” Imelda Tacalan, 48, of Balangiga, Eastern Samar, said.
Tacalan, a leader of Community of Yolanda Survivors and Partners (CYSP), urged President Rodrigo Duterte to launch a bigger inquiry over the substandard and anomalous housing projects, saying certain heads must roll over the issue.
Dhon Daganasol, leader of CYSP affiliate group Katarungan-Eastern Visayas, also asked the President not to put its efforts into waste by ignoring the facts surrounding the bungled Yolanda housing program.
“To put a value on what the government is doing, the officials involved in this resettlement program should be held accountable,” said Daganasol.
During his recent visit to Eastern Samar, Usec. Wendel Avisado, presidential assistant for special concern, personally expressed his disappointments over the delays and backlogs of the government’s resettlement projects.
While the group has welcomed the efforts of Avisado, they also stood firm on their demand “to audit and review Yolanda projects, and allow for a participative, and genuine, people-centered rehabilitation.”
According to Vincent Basiano, another CYSP official from Tacloban City, the “relentless” complaints of the Yolanda survivors over the resettlement projects are “sufficient proof” that no consultation took place in Yolanda corridors.
“Consultation had been a difficult subject for the communities of Yolanda victims. Local government units claim that consultation had been going on. But if you look at it, there was no consultation that really happened reason we have this problem in Yolanda projects,” said Basiano.
Pete Carlos, another Yolanda survivor from Carigara, Leyte, also expressed his fear that the anomalies in the housing projects will continue to be unchecked if Mr. Duterte will not solve the issues before his term ends.
Earlier, National Housing Authority General Manager Marcelino Escalada Jr. announced that at least five housing officials could face suspension over the bungled Yolanda housing projects in the Visayas and Mindanao.
He also said that at least 46 unfinished housing projects will also be canceled due to various defects and negative slippage.
Out of the 205, 128 target units for Yolanda victims, 67, 754 units or 33 percent have been fully completed and 23, 414 or 11 percent were occupied as of August last year.
In Tacloban City, Yolanda’s ground zero, out of more than 14,000 housing units, over 9,000 units had already been awarded.
For the more than 50,000 housing units in the Eastern Visayas region, over 20,000 units had been turned over to the recipients.