DAVAO CITY – The National Housing Authority (NHA) Davao Region admitted it is short of 13,525 housing units that it was supposed to complete by March next year for the survivors of Typhoon Pablo.
During the regular Kapehan sa SM press conference, NHA regional officer-in-charge Engineer Carolina Angel explained that they began constructing houses only 10 months after Typhoon Pablo devastated Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental in December 4, 2012.
“Our mandate was to make a comprehensive development plan and we had to get clearances from agencies like the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Department of Agrarian Reform so that our subdivisions are built on safe grounds,” Angel explained.
Typhoon survivors group Barug Katawhan (People Stand Up) scoffed the justification, criticizing that the government’s housing scheme lacked consultation and proper implementation.
The group’s spokesperson Karlos Trangia, told Davao Today that the housing plan failed to heed the residents’ request that the houses be built near the farms.
“We asked them that the relocation areas should be built close to farm areas, but the housing units are built in the town proper which is so far away from our farms,” Trangia said.
Some 230,000 families in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental were affected by Typhoon Pablo in December 4, 2012, according to a report from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
NHA said it is set to turn over this week some 3,505 housing units to Typhoon Pablo survivors in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.
The NHA head said another typhoon, Agaton, which hit Davao Oriental on January 17, 2013, also caused delays in construction as bridges connecting the towns were destroyed.
Only 538 units have been built so far in one town in Davao Oriental which is Cateel, in Barangays San Alfonso (167 units), San Antonio (289), and Tatytayan (82).
In Compostela Valley, the NHA built 2,967 units spread in the towns of New Bataan (Barangays San Roque, 1,214 and Andap, 50), Monkayo (Union, 225 and Lower Ulip, 443), Brgy. New Visayas in Montevista (335), Brgy. Maparat, Compostela (300) and Brgy. Kidawa, Laak (400).
Task Force Pablo head Engr. Alfonso Borlagdan said what they built were house duplexes measuring 22 square meters occupying a 60 square meter lot, constructed with hollow blocks and galvanized roofs with individual water piping and electric systems.
Borlagdan added that the materials are typhoon-resistant.
Aside from the NHA, the DSWD also constructed 641 houses in Davao Oriental and emergency assistance to 2,000 families.
Angel said one housing unit costs P220,000 and said beneficiaries will only pay one peso for processing of titles; but she added that beneficiaries were made to sign an agreement not to sell the land within five years.
Barug Katawhan’s Trangia, however said, there are schemes in some areas where two families would share one house.
“The houses they built are small and cramped; it’s almost like a prison house,” he said.
Contrary to the NHA’s pronouncement that the houses are free, Trangia said residents in Compostela and Montevista were made to sign an agreement to pay P 200 monthly in five years for the unit.
Trangia further doubts that the houses can be completed as he noted laborers are not paid in time thus delaying the construction period.
“I doubt if they can meet the deadline. For now, survivors had to rely on their own and find other means to build houses,” he said.
Trangia said they had proposed that donations for housing projects could have better served survivors if they were handled by a monitoring committee and implemented by residents themselves to rebuild their houses. (davaotoday.com)