Delegates from the Eastern Visayas region participating in the visayas-wide caravan of disaster survivors and rights abuse victims trooped to the National Housing Agency in Quezon City to demand adequate, quality and amortization-free resettlement.
Amid the swift action of the Duterte administration in relocating the communities of super typhoon Yolanda survivors in Tacloban City to their resettlement areas, People Surge, an alliance of disaster survivors in Eastern Visayas argued that what might seem to be a good step, could lead to more danger.
“Resettlement in Tacloban City is still characterized by sub standard houses,” said Dr. Efleda Bautista, chairperson of the 20,000-strong survivors’ alliance. Testimonies of residents in the Tacloban North Resettlement Project lamented the poor state of their housing units. Observations of hollow walls, dilapidated roofing, and damaged septage among others, were bared. “The people are very much concerned of their safety especially after the deadly storm surge that hit the region, but the transfer of communities from the so-called unsafe zones could be a trip to death zones,” added Bautista. Cases of deaths in the resettlement due to heat stroke, diarrhea, dengue and pneumonia have already been recorded due to the flubbed condition of the relocation sites.
The housing projects of the previous Aquino administration has been riddled with corruption that has resulted to the substandard bunkhouses, transitional and permanent resettlement. “We now urge President Duterte to fix these problems but not in haste through plain transfer of communities, the quality of the constructed houses must first be ensured,” said Bautista.
Despite the breadth of the damage left by super typhoon Yolanda, the heftily-funded NHA only targetted 205, 128 housing units out of the millions displaced and left homeless. “From this overly conservative target of the housing agency, is their overly failed performance. NHA failed to deliver as they have posted a disgustingly low, 12.3% overall accomplishment,” added Bautista. The NHA is one of the agencies that acquired huge sums of budget this year totalling to P39.2 billion.
Free or for fee?
While the relocatees will not be charged for the housing units awarded to them, it will not take that long, as they will have to pay P200 every month after 5 years of occupying the units. According to the NHA it will be used to upset the expenditures the agency has incurred. “The NHA has made their service to the people valid for only 5 years; that instead of wholly owning up on the housing projects, they acted like business corporations, with the main objective of ensuring minimal expenditures,” said Bautista.
“The determination of President Duterte in expediting the awarding of housing units to Yolanda survivors is well-appreciated, but we urge him to listen to the survivors on their plight and considerations over these issues that concerns no less than the survivors themselves,” concluded Bautista.
People Surge is taking part in the caravan of rights abuse victims dubbed: Tindog Visayas: Lakbayan laban sa kagutuman at militarisasyon. They are joined by organizations of disaster victims from Central Visayas, Panay, and Negros. The groups are hosted by the administration, faculty, and students of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Sta. Mesa, Manila.#
Chairperson, People Surge