NHA housing for Sta. Fe survivors ‘lacks power, occupants’

HARDSHIPS continue to hound residents of Barangay Maricaban in Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island, Cebu, six years after Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) devastated the town.

Of the 1,000 houses built by the National Housing Authority (NHA) for survivors, only five have electricity.

This prompted members of the Sto. Niño Homeowners Association (SNHA) to seek the assistance of town officials to fast-track work to connect the remaining 995 houses.

SNHA president Joemarie Esgana said houses get hot and stuffy at night because there is no electricity.

Children have been falling ill because of poor ventilation, he said.

The NHA promised 1,000 units for Yolanda survivors in Sta. Fe, but only 300 units are occupied.

The NHA is set to award 150 more units, while the certificates and notices of award for the remaining 550 houses are pending in its central office.

With their monthly expenses growing by the day, Dalia Disierto said her family decided to move out of their apartment and occupy their NHA unit despite the lack of electricity.

Fearing for her children’s health, Disierto said she took matters into her own hands and paid the Municipal Engineer’s Office P1,050 to get power connection.

“I got a receipt for the P450 I paid, but I don’t know what the P600 was for because I didn’t get a receipt for it. I just paid for everything because I really want to have electricity at home, but until now there’s no connection,” she said in Cebuano.

It has been five months since she paid, but Disierto said she still has yet to hear from the town hall.

Municipal Engineer Teodola Figuracion declined to comment on the matter, saying Mayor Ithamar Espinosa and officials of NHA have yet to meet.

In an interview with Superbalita Cebu, Municipal Councilor Joan Gigi, vice chairperson of the committee on housing, said the council majority had agreed that there was no need to re-validate the list of housing beneficiaries since the list came from the NHA central office.

Espinosa, though, reportedly did not heed the council’s recommendation over allegations of unqualified survivors being included on the NHA’s list.

The mayor’s camp had allegedly sent a letter to the NHA 7 office on the matter.

Superbalita Cebu tried to reach Espinosa for his comment, but the latter was in a meeting, according to his secretary. (BBT/RTF)