Building of houses for Yolanda victims may go beyond 2016

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

MANILA -- Authorities said it will take beyond 2016 to finish building permanent housing for families residing in areas ravaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in the Eastern Visayas last November 8.

Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will do its best to finish the construction particularly in Tacloban City and other parts of the region.

But Singson noted that they just wanted to be realistic in facing the situation. He admitted that the remaining two years and six months of President Benigno Aquino III’s term is not enough to complete the permanent shelter program.

"We're not saying everything will be done in two years. We're telling you it can't, with the scale of devastation there," he said.

Singson explained that the government is currently looking for areas where they could build permanent housing.

Meanwhile, another high-ranking official of the agency who requested not to be identified backed the statement of the DPWH chief.

"The problem is where we construct the [permanent] houses? We can’t put the houses anywhere. It should be government property," the DPWH official said.

"Kung may available na government land, ide-develop pa namin 'yan and of course, there are too many houses to be built and that is not an easy task to do. Kahit may allocated budget, mahirap pa ring gawin kasi walang lupa," the source added.

The source said that local government officials or members of non-government organizations (NGOs) can identify areas where the agency can build permanent shelters.

"We are not the ones who will identify. The local officials or any government entity can identify where we can construct these houses. But one thing is for sure, we can’t do it in two years… practically, we can construct by 2016 but the total requirement, it’s impossible," the official said.

Singson was tasked by Aquino to speed up the construction not only of the temporary bunkhouses but also the permanent shelters.

He noted that the DPWH already completed the construction of more than 150 bunkhouses which will serve as temporary shelters for more than 3,300 affected families devastated by Yolanda’s wrath.

Singson explained that bunkhouses comprise of 24 units of dwellings or a total of 2,856 units were completed in Eastern Visayas late last December The DPWH chief has said in his earlier interviews that these bunkhouses were not overpriced, contrary to recent reports. (Sunnex)

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