Many Yolanda survivors still don’t have homes

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SEVEN years after super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) devastated parts of northern Cebu, only around 9,800 permanent housing units for survivors have been completed by the National Housing Authority (NHA).

This is 47.34 percent of the total 20,700 houses that should have been built for them.

Yolanda struck northern Cebu in the morning of Nov. 8, 2013.

The start of the coronavirus pandemic in the middle of March this year further aggravated the slowness of the construction. When the government started to impose community quarantine, public movement was restricted.

Project contractors also encountered delays in the delivery of constructions materials and difficulty in securing environmental compliance certificates from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for the construction sites, especially in the islands of Bantayan and Camotes.

Of the completed houses, only 2,185 are occupied by beneficiaries, according to NHA Cebu officer-in-charge Jude Juntilo. A total of 1,388 are located in mainland Cebu and 797 are in Bantayan Island.

Juntilo said not all of the completed houses have been turned over to beneficiaries as there is still no water and power at the sites.

Based on the NHA data, as of Nov. 5, 2020, 5,775 of the completed houses are in mainland Cebu; 4,001 in Bantayan Island; and only five in Camotes Island.

The NHA and the Inter-Agency Task Force Yolanda had promised that all the completed houses would be ready for occupancy by the second quarter of 2020.

A total of 22,423 houses were supposed to be built for survivors in Cebu, but this was cut down to 20,700 in 2019 after the NHA and the local government units (LGUs) concerned agreed to raise the budget allocated for each house due to cost adjustment and variation orders, Juntilo said.

In a 2018 interview, Constancio Antiniero, then NHA Cebu chief, said the NHA Cebu was allocated P6.5 billion for the construction of 22,423 houses.

The adjusted 20,700 houses cover 37 housing projects of which 24 are NHA Cebu-undertaken, while 13 are LGU-implemented. (WBS)