A party-list solon representing the youth sector has called on the House Committee on Social Services on Monday to conduct an onsite investigation of bunkhouses built for victims of Typhoon Yolanda that were easily destroyed by the recent Typhoon Ruby.
In House Resolution No. 1763, Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon called on the Lower House to “look into bunkhouses built for victims of Typhoon Yolanda that were damaged or destroyed after the onslaught of Typhoon Ruby, to determine possible liabilities for substandard construction that compromised the safety and welfare of the survivors.”
The lawmaker also called for a probe on the slow-paced construction of permanent housing in Yolanda-affected areas.
Typhoon Ruby (international name Hagupit) was recorded as the strongest typhoon to hit the country this year. With maximum winds of up to to 195 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness at 220 kph, it barrelled through Eastern Visayas, making landfall in areas that were previously devastated by Typhoon Yolanda.
Ruby left hundreds of bunkhouses built for victims Typhoon Yolanda roofless, compelling residents to use recycled tarpaulins as makeshift roofing. Some units were even totally destroyed, making them unfit for residence.
Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte has earlier explained that the bunkhouses were built only for temporary use, or until such time that permanent housing will be built, and could only withstand winds of up to 150 kph.
“The flimsiness of the bunkhouses can be proof that there is truth to the issue of corruption and substandard construction that were once raised at the onset of reconstruction efforts,” Ridon said.
In the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda, DPWH built hundreds of bunkhouses as temporary shelter to thousands of residents in Tacloban City and in some areas in Samar province. However, issues of substandard quality and overpricing have surrounding the rebuilding efforts since it began.
In HR 1763, Ridon noted that there has been a total of P13.5 billion appropriated for the construction of 46,129 permanent housing units for Yolanda-devastated areas. However, as of December 2014, only 1,595 permanent housing units were constructed.
The government aims to construct a total of 205,218 permanent housing, but it only targets 5,000 units by March 2015 despite the availability of funds. More houses are expected to be constructed with the approval of the P22.4 supplemental budget where P7.9 billion will be allocated for the construction of permanent housing.
“The slow-paced construction is clearly not commensurate with the massive amount of funds being poured in to provide permanent housing to the victims of Typhoon Yolanda. An onsite investigation should clearly be done, for us to assess what’s really happening on the ground. Congress just cannot simply appropriate more and more funds even if pertinent issues such as overpricing and substandard build quality remain unresolved,” Ridon said.