Contractor denies using substandard materials in ‘Yolanda’ housing
By: Marc Jayson Cayabyab 07:40 PM September 18, 2017
A contractor denied before a hearing at the House of Representatives on Monday that he had built substandard housing for the victims of Supertyphoon Yolanda.
During the hearing conducted by the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development, Juanito Tayag, who owns JC Tayag Builders Inc., lamented that lawmakers deemed as “gospel truth” the allegations of a certain Camilo Salazar that substandard materials were used in the construction of the housing units.
“The alleged substandard issue only happened in one of our project sties in Balangiga,” Tayag said. “However, they declared the construction in Eastern Samar as a whole is substandard. Standard logical principle does not agree that a particular fact can form a general statement. That is malicious.”
Tayag said Salazar was not even an engineer, but a foreman who was relieved over the poor implementation of works and plans.
“We regret to say that the unverified statement of Mr. Salazar was treated as if it was a gospel truth,” Tayag said.
Tayag also justified the slow construction of units, blaming it on the rugged terrain and erroneous topographic data, among others.
He also denied that he resorted to subcontracting, adding that the JC Tayag still “called the shots” in the construction.
In a news conference last Sept. 6, Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez, committee chair, slammed the “snail-paced implementation” and “substandard” construction of the Yolanda housing units.
He added that only 23,414 of the projected 205,128 housing units were occupied.
Benitez cited a 2017 report of the National Housing Authority, which stated that of the projected 205,128 housing units, only 67,754 units – or 37 percent – were constructed, with only 23,414 units being occupied.
At least 73, 286 units are still under construction, Benitez said.
“As of today, four years has passed, only 23,414 housing units are occupied – a mere 11.4 percent,” Benitez said at the news conference. “This is based on NHA figures. 33 percent has been completed and total of 73,286 units are ongoing construction. [Actually] we’re not convinced that this is the actual number. Asked a special audit by the Commission on Audit to do the investigation and validate these figures.” /atm