122 bunkhouses built for ‘Yolanda’ survivors; 106 more to go
MANILA, Philippines — Better late than never. Of the initial 228 bunkhouses the government had planned to build for survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan) in Eastern Visayas, construction firms hired by the Department of Public Works and Highways were able to put up only 122 before the Christmas break.
But the same private contractors “will resume work on 96 partially completed temporary shelters next Monday (Jan. 6),” DPWH Region 8 Director Rolando Asis reported on Thursday.
“All bunkhouses are expected to be finished by the end of January.” That is, “if weather conditions in the Leyte and Samar areas cooperate,” he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Asked if the DPWH was considering putting up more temporary shelters for typhoon victims, Asis said: “Yes, if local government units in these areas can provide the required resettlement sites.”
Similar bunkhouse construction projects in Eastern Visayas “would depend on available sites,” he said as he assured anew the agency was speeding up the building of bunkhouse units.
The DPWH had promised to put up at least 119 bunkhouses by Dec. 15 and another 23 units by Dec. 20.
However, only 86 temporary shelters were constructed by Dec. 17.
Worse, only two of them – both in Barangay (village) Candahug in Palo town, Leyte – were turned over by President Aquino during his visit to the storm-devastated province last Dec. 22.
The other 84 bunkhouses, including 32 in Tacloban City, still had no running water, said Asis. Contacted by phone, he also said the recipients of the temporary shelters were still being identified by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
The DPWH Public Information Division earlier said the remaining bunkhouse units would be completed by Dec. 23.
The department had planned to build a total of 228 bunkhouses in Eastern Visayas – 50 of them in Tacloban, 50 in Palo, 46 in Ormoc City, 31 in Samar and 55 in Eastern Samar.
Each bunkhouse, which consists of 24 units with a common bathroom and kitchen, costs P838,000.
The bunkhouses are made of corrugated sheets, plywood and coconut lumber. Each unit measures 8.64 meters.
Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson earlier told reporters the government would need at least P15 billion for the construction of temporary shelters for the typhoon survivors.
Asis explained the cost of each bunkhouse was high because the construction materials had to be brought in from Cebu City and other parts of the Visayas and Mindanao and the workers also had to travel to Region 8.
Sometime in early December, the DPWH issued a statement where it said it would go on a “fast-track mode” in the building of the initial 119 temporary shelters in Leyte and Eastern Samar.
The first batch of bunkhouses, each composed of 24 units or a total of 2,856 units, would be completed by Dec. 15, the agency said, adding in Tacloban City, the initial 23 bunkhouses were expected to be finished by Dec. 20.
More would be completed in time for the New Year, the DPWH added.
According to Singson, “the repair and rehabilitation of typhoon-damaged roads, bridges and other state infrastructures can be completed in one year.”
“But it’s the shelter program that will take some time. Putting up the bunkhouses and other temporary shelters will most likely take three years, which is fast enough,” he added.
During his recent visit to Leyte, the President said the government would build “permanent houses that are safe for residents.” The bunkhouses, he also said, would only be for temporary use.
He added he would see to it that the permanent relocation sites of Eastern Visayas residents rendered homeless by the typhoon would be better and more resilient to calamities.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.