Ping wants probe into alleged 'Yolanda' kickbacks


Posted at Jan 07 2014 10:21 AM | Updated as of Jul 08 2016 03:31 PM


MANILA - Rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson has asked for a probe into alleged overpricing of bunkhouses being built in areas ravaged by supertyphoon "Yolanda."

Lacson said he received information there could be a collusion between the contractors and a politician so they can pocket a 35-percent kickback on the construction of the shelters.

He declined to identify the politician.

Lacson said they will file a case against the politician before the Ombudsman once they gather enough evidence.

"Kasi noong nalaman kong may anomalya, pinagbigay kong alam agad kay [Public Works] Secretary (Rogelio) Singson. Only one word to describe yun ganong tao. Amoral."

Singson earlier confirmed that Lacson had informed him about possible corruption in the construction of the bunkhouses for "Yolanda" survivors.

"Yes, it is in a particular municipality in Samar. There is politics involved, that much I can tell you. That is why I am going there tomorrow. I can tell you, kung substandard yun, hindi sila mababayaran. Wala pa kaming binabayaran," he said.

However, he denied a Philippine Daily Inquirer report that said some of the 222 bunkhouses being built in typhoon-hit areas are overpriced.

"It is not overpriced. If it is overpriced, the following day I will submit my resignation to President Aquino," he said.

However, he conceded that some of the structures might be "under specifications" - meaning that contractors did not build the structures according to specifications provided by the Department of Public Works and Highways.

Meanwhile, urban planner and architect Jun Palafox said the temporary shelters being built for Yolanda survivors are substandard.

He compared the bunkhouses here to those built in Indonesia and Sri Lanka, which were devastated by a tsunami in 2004.

"In Aceh, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, I was part of the rehab (team), and the minimum size for a family was 21-22 square meters for the temporary (housing), so that fathers and daughters don't sleep in the same room, or sisters and brothers," he said in an interview on ANC's Talkback.

"The more permanent ones are about 42 sqm and higher. Every house would have a kitchen, garden, and incremental approach to housing, the house would grow as the income grows," he added.