TACLOBAN CITY – The central government is eyeing to complete next year all housing projects intended for super typhoon Yolanda survivors, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles said here on Friday.
Nograles, who joined the activities related to the 6th Yolanda anniversary commemoration, said the National Housing Authority (NHA) has been building 205,128 housing units along the Yolanda corridor.
At least 56,140 of these houses are in Eastern Visayas.
“Our original target was to complete all Yolanda housing by the end of 2019, but realistically we cannot do that because 2019 is about to end. So our target now is to complete all housing projects by 2020 not only in Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) but also in Region 5 (Bicol), 6 (Western Visayas), 7 (Central Visayas), and 4-B (Mimaropa),” Nograles told reporters.
He said the NHA is now keeping up its pace and fast-tracking the construction of all housing projects for recipients in four provinces of the region hit by super typhoon Yolanda on 8 November 2013.
Nograles added that extending the completion timeline is in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s order not just to build a township and not just housing structures.
“Local Water Utilities Administration must fast-track the water system project, National Electrification Administration must also fast-track the energization of ‘Yolanda’ housing communities and we will also ensure that there are schools from the Department of Education, health center from the Department of Health and Day Care Center from the Department of Social Welfare and Development in every housing site,” Nograles said.
The government is imposing strict compliance with the specification for contractors building the “Yolanda” housing projects to ensure housing quality.
It wants to immediately award all housing units once completed.
“We want to avoid cases of having damaged houses from finished housing projects because there are no occupants. That is unfair to the contractors who turn over the units to the NHA in good quality,” Nograles said.
NHA Eastern Visayas regional manager Rizalde Mediavillo said completing all post-“Yolanda” housing projects next year is a big challenge but realistic.
About 50 percent of the over 56,000 housing units for the region is now fully completed, he said.
“We already came up with a catch-up plan, drawing experiences in the implementation of several projects since 2014. We are confident to beat the deadline next year,” Mediavillo said in an interview in Tanauan, Leyte.
“Yolanda,” said to be the strongest typhoon in world history, struck the central Philippines and wreaked havoc on 175 cities and towns in 14 provinces in six regions. The disaster killed more than 6,000 people.
The total damage cost and losses in “Yolanda”-affected areas reached P101.79 billion, of which P48. 79 billion came from Eastern Visayas.