Each housing unit costs P290,000. “In my view, these won’t last. They have to be replaced,” saidEngr. Victor Diomo of DPWH Region 6’s Maintenance Division after inspecting thehousing project. NHA started constructing the P290-million mass housing project inBarangay Bacjawan Sur, Concepcion in 2016, three years after the disaster. Thecontractor was Hercar Construction Corp. Given the sufficient budgetary support from the nationalgovernment, she said there should be no substandard and delayed implementationof housing projects in different calamity-hit areas and relocation sites. “I cannot allow my people to live in them. The 542 units areallegedly ready for turnover but we will not accept them,” he stressed. During the May 22, 2018 Senate hearing conducted by the Senatecommittee on urban planning, housing and resettlement on the allegedirregularities on resettlement and relocation programs undertaken by thegovernment for disaster-affected areas, then senator Loren Legarda (nowcongresswoman of Antique) said all those involved in the government housingprograms have to be accountable. “NHA-Iloilo told me they recommended the same to their centraloffice but I wonder what happened. I am writing them again. They have to act onthe problem or I will complain of inaction. They have to comply with the ARTALaw,” said Banias. “All these issues are not new to us, or to the NHA, and they needto be addressed because this is an example of wasting the people’s money. Wastage and inefficiency in government programs undermine the confidenceof the people in the institution,” said Legarda./PN The standard mix is one sack of cement, two sacks sand and threesacks of gravel, Diomo told SP members led by Vice Gov. Christine Garin andEngr. Romeo Andig of the Provincial Engineering Office. “Yolanda” (international name: “Haiyan”)was one of the most powerful typhoons recorded andthe deadliest in the Philippines. It plowed the Visayas on Nov. 8, 2013 – exactlysix years ago today – killing at least 6,300 people. Last month, said Banias, he wrote NHA-Iloilo recommending thetermination of the contract with the housing contractor. The houses were supposed to be sturdy and capable of withstanding“Yolanda-grade” typhoon, Banias told PanayNews. According to Diomo, the standard mixing proportion of cement, sandand gravel may not have been followed. The local government of Concepcion would accept the 542 housingunits only after their quality has been assured, said Banias. Hercar Construction Corp.’s Herminio Carreon who was presentduring the DPWH ocular inspection denied the housing units were substandard.Construction workers followed the standard mixing proportion of cement, sandand gravel, he insisted. Photo by IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN ILOILO – Of the 1,000 mass housing units that the National HousingAuthority (NHA) constructed in the municipality of Concepcion for survivors ofNovember 2013’s super typhoon “Yolanda”, 542 units still have to be turned overto the local government. “The houses are not safe. Kon tandugon mo ang walls, nagaka-pudpod,”said Mayor Raul Banias. As early as 2017, beneficiaries were already complaining of thefollowing: cracks on floors, scaling of concrete walls, leaky roofing, unevenpaint application, no water supply, and sloppy construction of toilets. ARTA is the Anti-Red Tape Law that guarantees speedy governmentaction to transactions. According to the contractor, he would never do anything that wouldruin his reputation or that of his construction company. “Kon may ara deperensya, liwaton ko. Kon kulang dugangan ko,” saidCarreon. Carreon, however, vowed to fix the defects. In June last year, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan asked theDepartment of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to conduct an inspection. “These housing programs are being funded by taxpayers’ money,allocated through General Appropriations Act. So why does this regularlyhappen? Somebody has to be liable for the irresponsible use of inferior,substandard and even inappropriate construction materials,” said Legarda. The senator underscored the need for the judicious use of fundsallocated for housing programs to strengthen the accountability of thegovernment and provide the people with the assistance that they deserve. “I think we have recovered from the disaster already except forthe housing resettlement area,” said Banias.