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Gov’t admits Yolanda rehabilitation work ‘unacceptable’

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Mass grave Leyte
Residents of Palo, Leyte commemorate the 4th Yolanda anniversary by offering candles and flowers to those buried in a mass grave beside the Palo Cathedral. -- MIRIAN DESACADA/THE FREEMAN

THE ADMINISTRATION gave assurance yesterday that it remains committed to the rehabilitation work in areas destroyed by typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan), one of the strongest storms in recorded global history, as it admitted that the rebuilding program’s implementation has been slow.

The construction of resettlement houses were “simply unacceptable as far as the President is concerned,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque said in a statement yesterday, the 4th year anniversary of the first landfall of what has been tagged as a ‘supertyphoon’ that swept through the Visayas in central Philippines.

Mr. Roque said President Rodrigo R. Duterte has tasked Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council head Eduardo D. del Rosario and Boy Scouts of the Philippines National President Wendel E. Avisado as point persons in the rehabilitation.

The spokesman cited that the government has rehabilitated “seaport and airport facilities and classrooms” and that the shelter assistance in Tacloban City, one of the areas hardest hit, is the “most successful model in the Yolanda Permanent Housing Program with the most number of resettlement houses occupied at 10,703 units from a total housing target of 14,433 houses.”

However, an assessment undertaken by research and advocacy group IBON Foundation, Inc., released yesterday, indicates that only 50,891 housing units have been completed out of the total 205,128 target for all affected areas. Further, of those completed, only 27% are occupied due to substandard construction, lack of facilities, and proximity to livelihood opportunities.

Mr. Roque said Mr. Duterte has vowed to go after those accountable for the failures in implementation.




“At the same time, he (Mr. Duterte) promises prosecution for the subhuman housing that were constructed in the Yolanda devastated areas, which came out as a result of investigation conducted by the committee on housing of the House of the Representatives,” he said.

In September, Representative Alfredo Abelardo B. Benitez, chairman of the House committee on housing, said he would file a case against contractor Juanito Tayag of J.C. Tayag Builders, Inc. for using substandard materials for the housing project in Balangiga, Eastern Samar.

“Today, the nation remembers Yolanda. As we commemorate the deadliest typhoon that hit the Philippines on record, we offer prayers to those who lost their lives, we also keep in mind the lessons learned brought by such great tragedy,” Mr. Roque said.

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