Singson offers to resign if bunkhouses overpriced

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 06 2014 01:36 PM | Updated as of Jan 07 2014 03:45 AM

MANILA (UPDATED) - Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson denied a report that bunkhouses being built as temporary shelters for victims of typhoon Yolanda are overpriced and offered to resign if the accusation is proven to be true.
“It is not overpriced. If it is overpriced, the following day, I will submit my resignation to President Aquino,” Singson told reporters.
“There is politics involved,” Singson said of the accusations, adding that they may have come from a municipality in Samar.
Singson said contractors have given up their overhead and profit margins for the reconstruction effort but added that contractors would not be paid if the agency’s specifications are not followed.

He said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has set a standard of using a much thicker galvanized iron sheet roofing at 0.40 millimeter.
“If the contractors did not follow the specifications that we gave them, they will not be paid. They will not be paid unless they correct or rectify (it) to meet our standards. So whether they want to retrofit to meet our standards or they will not be paid,” Singson said.
“I have also met or discussed this matter with Secretary Ping (Lacson), and he did mention that there were already complaints about substandard, and I assured him that we have not paid any of the contractors; and if the contractors want to be paid, they have to follow the specifications of DPWH.”
To address concerns about overcrowding, Singson said the specifications of the bunkhouses have been changed so that one bunkhouse could accommodate 12 families instead of 24.
From P34,834 per family, the cost of one unit would be P65,715 or P788,580 per bunkhouse. The bunkhouse includes a toilet area and a common kitchen.
It would take an additional one to two months for the construction of the temporary shelters to be completed because of the adjustment.
“We had originally targeted 222 in the municipalities that have identified relocation sites. So far, we have completed 126, but we suspended further construction because precisely we are changing the specifications from 24 units per bunkhouse to 12 units per bunkhouse,” he said.
The bunkhouses could serve as the displaced families’ temporary shelter for up to two years before they are moved to their permanent homes.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development and local government units would identify the families who would be housed in the bunkhouses with other families receiving other forms of shelter intervention.
Singson said the housing effort would not be completed within 2 years given the scale of the reconstruction.
President Aquino has directed the agencies concerned to speed up the construction of permanent homes.