Solon Vows Relentless Fight for Yolanda Homeless

08 November 2017

The chairman of the House of Representatives committee on housing vowed to bring to justice officials and private contractors for the delay and substandard quality of housing projects for Yolanda-affected families as the nation marks today the fourth year since the super typhoon devastated Visayas.

In a press statement, Rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez lamented that four years have passed yet thousands still live in temporary housing or in danger zones. “It appears that, for many families, the tragedy continues,” he said.

Rep. Benitez has led a series of public hearings in Eastern Samar, Tacloban and Congress since August to probe the snail-paced implementation of Yolanda housing projects. The committee had uncovered substantial information that aside from delays in the construction, substandard materials were used in the Yolanda housing project in Balangiga, Eastern Samar.

An inspection team directed by the committee had discovered the use of 8 millimeter re-bars in the housing project in Balangiga.

In a joint meeting with the committee on good government in September, lawmakers had grilled National Housing Authority (NHA) officials on allegations of irregular bidding process where a single contractor – JC Tayag Builders – cornered the 800-million housing project in Eastern Samar.

During the same hearing, it was also revealed that NHA regional officials still recommended the extension of the JC Tayag Builders’ contract despite knowing its use of substandard materials and huge negative slippages.

“This is utterly unacceptable. Our kababayans in the Yolanda corridor have suffered enough yet some people have the gall to profit from their misfortune,” Rep. Benitez bemoaned.
The Negros congressman said that he will personally ensure that officials and contractors who profited from Yolanda housing projects will be held accountable and charged in court.

Rep. Benitez also said that he will continue to press the government to fast-track the implementation of Yolanda housing projects.

“Four years but we see little progress. I am hoping that it would not take yet another four years to fulfill the promise of adequate housing for Yolanda survivors. We will not let rest until Yolanda-affected families will finally have a safe and decent house to live in,” he added. #