Senator JV Ejercito urged the National Housing Authority (NHA) to fast-track the completion of 45,000 permanent housing units by yearend for super typhoon Yolanda victims.
The senator made this statement after hearing the updates on the government’s resettlement program for Yolanda victims under the Senate Committee on Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement on Monday.
The hearing was attended by representatives from NHA, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Social Welfare and Development, mayors, and representatives from the affected cities and municipalities.
At the onset of NHA’s presentation, Senator Ejercito asked for the completion date of the targeted 205,128 housing units. NHA and HUDCC officials said the target for 2015 is 45,000 units to be completed by year-end, and that the remaining units by July 2016.
However, NHA Chairman Chito Cruz said they may not be able to deliver on time because the budget has just been released recently.
Despite the delays, Senator Ejercito said he understood the dilemma of the housing agency. The senator said, “Matagal talaga kasi kapag consolidated na, identified na ang lupa, title at mga plano, medyo may katagalan iyan. Kaya lang, kung siguro mapapabilis ng lahat ng mga ahensiya, mas maganda. Kaya tinitignan po natin iyan para lang gumalaw ang lahat ng agencies. Kumbaga para sa atin sa mga ahensiya dito, konting delay lang iyan.”
He stressed, however, that the sentiments of the survivors should be taken well into consideration saying, “Everyday is a struggle for survival for the Yolanda victims. We probably need to make them understand that it will really take a while. It will take almost a year to get these things in order.”
He added, “Bagama’t iniintindi natin na may katagalan nga ang pagtapos ng pabahay at rehab efforts, kinakailangan pa rin natin i-fasttrack kasi survival ang katumbas nito sa ating mga apektadong kababayan ng Yolanda.”
The NHA and other agencies at the hearing agreed to submit monthly reports on the status of the production of housing units and rehabilitation efforts to the LGUs affected and to Senator Ejercito.
Senator Ejercito who is Chairman of the Committee on Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement vowed to closely monitor the progress of the resettlement of victims and said he will soon visit the affected areas and the housing sites.
“NHA promised to build 45,000 houses by year-end or even until June 2016. Ako po balak kong dalawin iyan by December or January para makita natin kasi, kapag 40-50,000 na pabahay ang nagawa, significant na rin ang number na iyon. Kasi iyon ang pangako nila, ” said Ejercito in an ambush interview after the hearing. ###