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NHA, DPWH agree on house designs for Zamboanga evacuees

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - The National Housing Authority and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) have finally agreed on the designs of 7,248 houses for the thousands of evacuees displaced by siege launched by the Moro National Liberation Front last year, an official said.

City Planning Officer Rodrigo Sicat said hundreds of the evacuees camped at the cramped sport center started moving to the bunk house transitory site at Masempla, Barangay Mampang in time for the resettlement pushed by the leadership of Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar under the “Build Back Better Zamboanga" program. 

Sicat said the DPWH had started laying the ground for the drainage system in the devastated villages of Rio Hondo, Sta. Barbara, and Sta. Catalina in preparation for the construction of the houses with expected approval of the designs.

“These (designs) have been approved and bidded out,” Sicat said of the construction of the housing units as part of the total funds of P3.5-billion pesos approved by President Benigno S. Aquino III.

The previous disagreement on the designs between the two agencies has affected the early implementation of the rehabilitation efforts of the city.

Sicat was confident the 18-month timeline given by the president for the resettlement of the affected residents is well within the range.

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Among the house designs that will be constructed are 1,180 one-storey duplex loftable units at P175,000 per unit with an area of 22 square meters; eight units of two-storey buildings with 1,160 houses and 3,241 houses on stilts.

Sicat said there were legal impedimentx on other private properties formerly occupied by informal settlers, who were also displaced by the siege. However, the affected settlers will be accommodated on other housing plans.

“No one will be displaced again,” Sicat said.

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