Senator JV Ejercito vowed on Monday to look into the housing and shelter budget allocated for the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda under the National Housing Authority, Department of Social Welfare and Development and the DPWH after United Nations special rapporteur Chaloka Beyani reported that the government had not done enough for those left homeless by super typhoon Yolanda.
Senator Ejercito, who is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement, said he will return to Tacloban soon for another committee hearing to assess the reconstruction progress.
“There is obviously a disconnect between the national and local government which is the main stumbling block of the rehabilitation efforts. Unfortunately, the ones who suffer are not officials but the Yolanda victims. The President should visit the affected areas again. Absent na nga sa SONA ang Yolanda. Siguro dahil walang maipagmalaki na accomplishment, ” he said.
Ejercito noted how alarming it is that after 2 years, the government was only able to meet 2.5% of the 21,012 permanent housing targeted for Eastern Visayas.
“How is it possible that the NHA was only able to complete 542 houses when rehabilitation funds were flowing in immediately after the typhoon? Aside from that, we were made to believe that the reconstruction budget was adequate in the National Budget for 2014 and 2015,” he said.
Ejercito also scored the administration for swiftly coming up with ‘savings’ but failed to spend enough and build decent housing for the Yolanda survivors.
“Where are the billions of rehab funds going? The whole world donated to help rebuild the homes and lives of the Yolanda survivors, but the government failed to deliver its commitment. Relief and reconstruction is not merely a political task, but a moral obligation of the Aquino Administration. President Aquino should have set aside politics in Yolanda rehab because it is not the Romualdezes who are suffering but the people.”
Sen. JV Ejercito however remains hopeful that the Senate will be able to come up with a more effective and responsive budget for 2016 in beefing up reconstruction in Eastern Visayas in the upcoming Senate budget deliberations. ###