Red tape slows down construction of 200,000 Yolanda houses: Robredo

Kimberly Jane Tan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 07 2016 03:23 PM

Bureaucratic red tape is still slowing down the completion of more than 200,000 houses meant for victims of Typhoon Yolanda, three years after the deadly cyclone battered the Philippines, Vice President Leni Robredo said Monday.

Robredo, who heads the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, said visits to affected sites and dialogues with local leaders showed government regulations were slowing down Yolanda resettlement projects.

"Kaya kung titingnan ninyo yung figures sa Yolanda ang dami-daming nangangailangan ng bahay pero kokonti pa lang yung natatapos dahil ang nakakatagal hindi yung construction ng bahay pero nakakatagal yung pag-umpisa dahil yung lupa hindi pa magamit dahil dun sa mga requirement dun sa dokumento," she said at a press conference on Monday, a day before the three-year anniversary of the storm's onslaught.

[So if you look at the figures, there is a need for so many houses but only a handful of them have been completed. The delay was caused not by construction but by documentary requirements.]

Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) displaced thousands of Filipinos and left more than 7,000 dead after battering the country in November 2013.

Robredo said around 205,128 housing projects need to be completed but that as of September 30, 2016, only 29,661 have been finished, 20,287 have been partially completed and only 4,278 are being occupied.

"Nagbago na yun, may konting improvement pero di pa tayo kontento," she said.

[That has improved a bit but we're still not satisfied.]

The vice president said one factor causing the delay is the National Housing Authority policy of requiring titles before approving housing projects, which takes about two to three years.

Another is the conversion of agricultural lands to residential lands, which also takes a long time, she said. Other problems include the lack of water supply and livelihood sources in resettlement areas, according to HUDCC.

But Robredo said she has already asked the help of President Rodrigo Duterte to push other government agencies to help out.

She said Duterte will be issuing an executive order on allowing the use of alternative proofs of ownership in place of a title. She said the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Department of Agriculture are also working with them to settle other housing issues.