NHA to redesign houses on stilts for Zamboanga siege refugees

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 29 2018 03:18 PM

MANILA- The National Housing Authority (NHA) will redesign the controversial houses on stilts for the refugees of the 2013 Zamboanga siege.

NHA General Manager Marcelino Escalada made the statement on Tuesday during an inquiry of the House of Representatives Committee on Housing and Urban Development on the collapse of a footbridge in the city last month.

“We’re approaching it on two fronts, one is we are redesigning the stilt housing which will cost a lot but I don't mind," he said.

"I’ve already commissioned our director as well as our contractor to rectify whatever is the remaining portion of the phase 4 [of the project]," he added.

In a previous inquiry, the NHA admitted that the original project design was concrete but costs compelled the agency to switch to wood.

Escalada told lawmakers that he has issued 50 show-cause orders to erring contractors for the housing projects in Zamboanga City as well as for residents displaced by Super Typhoon Yolanda, among others.

Twenty of the 50 contractors have already been terminated by the NHA and recommended for blacklisting, Escalada said.

Housing Committee Chair Rep. Albee Benitez, one of the lawmakers who fell into the water when the bridge collapsed, meanwhile, noted an apparent failure of design in the housing projects of the NHA.

"I've seen this in most of the NHA housing projects, it seems to be not just a failure of the implementation but also of the design. With that recognition that there is a failure in the agencies, we cannot continue moving forward [knowing] that this will happen again,” Benitez said.

Escalada vowed that they will look into the implementation of the agency's projects to ensure its safety.