Leni backs plans vs ‘Yolanda’ housing contractor
Vice President Leni Robredo has thrown her support to moves that will bring to court the alleged erring contractor of an Eastern Samar housing project for the victims of typhoon Yolanda.
“For me, it’s the right thing to do,” Robredo said in an interview with reporters in Pili, Camarines Sur, a transcript of which was furnished by her office.
According to Robredo, she had repeatedly raised the problems in the government’s housing program during her short-lived stint as secretary of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).
“There are many flaws in the policy,” she said, including the centralization of housing contracts with the National Housing Authority (NHA).
Robredo explained that the centralization of the NHA housing contracts leads to a situation where those that only qualify were triple-A contractors, which eventually sub-contract projects due to piled up contracts.
She noted that continued sub-contracting of the same project often sacrifices the quality of houses or structures.
“The sad part is, we have discovered (that) some sub-contracted for the fourth, fifth time. So what can we expect? If you sub-contract it four or five times, the quality of housing would really be sacrificed,” Robredo said.
She also blamed the slow pace of resettlement projects on the NHA’s centralized implementation of housing programs and called for its devolution to the local government units (LGUs).
“When I was in HUDCC, my proposal was to download [the programs] to the LGUs that can implement,” she noted. “The money’s there, the need is there, but it cannot be implemented because one government agency is overburdened.”
House committee on housing and urban development chair Rep. Albee Benitez said on Tuesday that he may file a perjury or even a syndicated estafa complaint against contractor J.C. Tayag Builders, Inc.
This was because J.C. Tayag Builders. Inc. owner Juanito Tayag denied during a September 18 hearing that substandard materials had been used in the construction of the houses for Yolanda victims in Eastern Samar.
Benitez, however, asserted that an inspection of the houses last week showed that the reinforcing steel bars that were used in the structures fell short of the NHA’s 16-millimeter specification. He said that the diameter of the steel bars only measured 6.53 millimeters to 11.84 millimeters. /kga
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