Freeman Region

Ejercito inspects housing projects in Tacloban

Miriam Garcia Desacada - The Freeman

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines — Senator JV Ejercito on Friday reassured hundreds of Yolanda survivors, who are now residing at resettlement areas in Tacloban City, that he will initiate a Senate inquiry on the slow implementation of housing projects.

The senator issued this assurance after he conducted an inspection of ongoing housing projects at Guadalupe Heights 2 in Barangay San Isidro, New Hope Village in Sta. Elena, and the Knightridge in Camansihay — all in Tacloban — that were the source of complaints namely sub-standard materials, and of being flood-prone and landslide-prone areas.

Ejercito , chairman of the Senate committee on housing and urban development, told local reporters he conducted the ocular inspection to assess the real structural stability of the permanent housing units, after reports of the media regarding concerns on sub-standard construction.

"That's why I'm here (in Tacloban) and I personally saw some structures. Kailangan maimbestigahan po natin sa Senado at mai-correct ang mga mali ng contractors at developers sa mga pabahay program na ito ng National Housing Authority. We also want them to fast track the construction of the houses. Ang dami palang nag-aantay na mga recipients, pero di pa tapos ang mga bahay para sa kanila," Ejercito said.

However some residents in the resettlement areas said they already lost their hopes that their complaints — the same issues that was investigated by the House and with the promise of President Rodrigo Duterte for action when he visited the area in 2016 — could still be acted upon by the government.

Loisa Reyes, a 29-year-old resident, lamented by asking that if the president himself ordered to fast track the implementation of the housing projects in Tacloban but failed to do it, how much can Senator Ejercito do to resolve this problem?

"Maybe this is just again a waste of time and government’s money. We don’t believe them anymore. We have been raising concerns about sub-standard materials used in the construction of a housing unit pero hindi pinakinggan ng NHA. Imbestigasyon pa kaya sa Senado? Aabutan pa iyan ng 2019 elections," she added.

Out of 205,128 target housing units, only 67,754 (or 33 percent) have been fully completed to this day, and 23,414 units (or 11 percent) are now being occupied, as of August last year.

Ejercito further said that, among the issues that he targets to resolve are the slow implementation of the housing project due to lack of sites for the housing, slow conversion of safe sites from agricultural to residential, and difficulty in the titling of land, securing the necessary permits and licenses, and other bureaucratic processes.

Meanwhile, NHA-Region 8 manager Rizalde Mediavillo told The Freeman that the NHA national office have already ordered the termination of the contract in the construction of housing units in the three resettlement areas.


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