PPP-funded resettlement projects eyed for quake-stricken Abra
The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) said Wednesday it is keen to partner with the private sector to fast-track the land development and construction of resettlement sites, particularly in quake-stricken and other calamity-hit areas of the country.
DHSUD Secretary Jose Rizalino Acuzar said the department has already initiated preliminary talks with some of the country’s biggest developers to explore potential development projects intended for families whose houses were totally destroyed during the magnitude-7 earthquake that jolted Northern Luzon on July 27.
“We have been providing emergency shelter assistance in the form of temporary shelter materials since the earthquake happened,” said Acuzar.
The DHSUD currently extends cash assistance to quake victims through its Emergency Housing Assistance Program (EHAP).
“We now need a proactive response through a more permanent solution to the damage this calamity has caused. Building shelters should now become a priority. We need help from our private partners for us to do that,” said Acuzar.
The DHSUD has been maximizing agreements with local government units (LGUs) along with the private sector to push for various housing-related development projects through what it calls an “incentivized compliance to a balanced housing program.” It said the government is eyeing to construct three resettlement sites, funded through a public-private partnership, for quake-affected residents, with some 930 housing units likely to be built in the municipalities of Tayum, Bucay and Peñarrubia in Abra province.
“I recognize our funding limitations in the government. But we cannot stop there. We need to explore other means, for as long as it is legally allowed, to provide for the housing needs of our fellow Filipinos,” said Acuzar.
He noted that the active participation of the private sector “will be a big boost” to providing immediate assistance to quake victims.
“I will personally see to it that this will successfully come into fruition,” he added.
The validated joint report from the DHSUD Regional Office in the Cordillera Administrative Region, National Housing Authority and LGUs showed that 264 houses were destroyed in Abra province. A total of 19,165 houses were partially damaged in the municipalities of Tayum, Bangued, Bucay, Pidigan, La Paz and San Quintin.
Acuzar, along with DHSUD and other key shelter officials, is scheduled to visit Abra on Thursday, 11 August, to check on quake-stricken areas.
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