Only 65 pct of houses for Yolanda victims complete 7 years since super typhoon: official

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 21 2020 07:13 PM

MANILA - Nearly 7 years after the wrath of Super Typhoon Yolanda, the National Housing Authority (NHA) has yet to fully construct some 180,912 housing units for those who lost their homes to the strongest tropical cyclone that hit the Philippines in recent years, Housing officials said Wednesday.

Only 65 percent or 130,051 of the total have been "completed" and the rest are still under construction, Housing Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario said in a Senate budget hearing.

"Ano po maaasahan namin kasi magse-seven years na within 2 weeks?" Sen. Imee Marcos, whose mother hails from Tacloban City, told Housing officials.

(What should we expect as it's going to be 7 years since the typhoon in two weeks?)

"Walang nangyayari sa Tacloban... Seven years na wala pa din kaming nararamdaman," she said of the super storm that struck in November 2013. 

(Nothing's happening in Tacloban... It's been 7 years and we still don't feel anything.)

The houses will be turned over to various local government units by the end of 2021, NHA General Manager Marcelino Escalada said.

In 2018, the Commission on Audit recommended the filing of charges against NHA officials over unfinished Yolanda housing projects.

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At least 10 housing projects worth P852.72 million in Eastern Samar were stopped due to manpower shortages and limited construction materials, the COA said in its audit report.

NHA regional officials have said that it has corrected the discrepancies and canceled contracts with unscrupulous contractors.

Earlier this year, the NHA completed its Yolanda housing projects in Ormoc City, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said.

The housing department earlier said that it needs some P30 billion annually in the next 2 decades to construct 6.57 million houses and finish the backlog in low-cost housing. 

Under the proposed 2021 budget, the department would only get P3.9 billion, unless Congress decides to increase the allocation.