NHA, LWUA flagged over unfinished Yolanda projects

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star
NHA, LWUA flagged over unfinished Yolanda projects
One of San Lorenzo Heights’ beneficiaries with her awarded land title.

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) has called out two government agencies over unfinished housing and water provision projects in areas affected by the 2013 Super Typhoon Yolanda.

In its consolidated audit report on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund for 2022 uploaded on its website last month, the COA noted that of the revised target of 210,317 housing units under the government’s Yolanda Permanent Housing Program (YPHP), only 78.94 percent or 166,034 HUs were completed by the National Housing Authority (NHA).

The COA said 44,283 HUs remained unfinished by the NHA as of Dec. 31, 2022, almost a decade since the typhoon devastated the country, especially the Visayas region.

The audit body said a review of the status and accomplishments under the YPHP revealed that 60 projects with a total contract cost of P9.318 billion were “not completed within the target/ required completion date”; nine projects amounting to P1.802 billion were suspended, and 56 projects with total contract cost of P8.76 billion were terminated.

“Consequently, the delayed, suspended, and terminated projects deprived the intended beneficiaries of the immediate use of the housing units,” the COA report read.

The audit body added that the delays in completion of the HUs may also result in “wastage of government funds and additional costs to the government because some of the structures may have deteriorated or become unusable over time.”

Furthermore, the COA noted that of the 166,034 completed HUs, 31 percent or 51,538 units remained unoccupied for various reasons such as local government unit (LGU)’s “no demolition, no relocation” policy, pending validation of occupants prior to awarding of the HUs, and beneficiaries’ personal reasons.

Water supply

Meanwhile, the COA also called out the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) over its slow provision of water supply in the HUs constructed under the YPHP.

The COA noted that despite its receipt of P660-million fund from the national government for provision of water supply, the LWUA only managed to complete five water provision projects as of end of 2022.

“Other projects are yet to be implemented or have not been started, suspended, or still ongoing, with physical completion ranging from five to 90 percent,” COA said.

The COA said the LWUA has also yet to release P4.646-million subsidies to several water districts intended for the procurement and installation of generator sets and treatment facilities and pumping equipment in areas affected by Yolanda, “thereby depriving the beneficiaries of the much-needed assistance.”

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