Hontiveros prods gov’t: Turn 13,000 idle housing into evacuation centers
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros called on the government to let some 13,000 still-unoccupied resettlement houses become shelters for families displaced by disasters, Senator Risa Hontiveros said.
During Wednesday’s Senate hearing on the severe flooding in Luzon provinces, Hontiveros raised the possibility of turning those 13,000 idle spaces in various government housing projects into evacuation centers during times of calamities.
“There are at least 13,000 housing units in government’s resettlement sites na nakatengga lang [that remain idle],” she said in a separate statement.
“We can use these units to help the residents in vulnerable and hazard-prone areas to start anew,” she added.
Further, Hontiveros asked the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to examine how the government’s own facilities came to be located in danger zones.
“Inilipat doon ang mga residente dahil nga delikado rin sa kanilang tinitirahan. Nakakapagtaka lang na ang mga pabahay ng gobyerno na dapat sana ay nasa ligtas na lugar ay inilagay sa may mas matindi pang disgrasya,” she said.
(Residents are being resettled there because their previous homes are located in hazardous areas. I’m puzzled as to why government housing could cause more harm.)
She also proposed the “decommissioning or shutting down” of recently-flooded public housing facilities, particularly Kasiglahan Village and Southville 8b in Rodriguez, Rizal, which she noted were both located along “red zones” as per the assessment of UP Resiliency Institute’s Project NOAH.
“Portions of these housing facilities have also been repeatedly inundated by two-meter deep floods in the past twenty years, and most recently by typhoon Ulysses.” Hontiveros pointed out.
If these resettlement sites will not be decommissioned, the senator suggested that financial help be given to the National Housing Authority (NHA) by the NDRRMC in order for them to build additional floors on top of the existing houses at no additional cost.
“NHA may have to retrofit the structure of the housing units in Kasiglahan and Southville at tayuan ng second floor kung kinakailangan [and build a second floor],” she said.
“Pwede pa nilang gamitin ang ikalawang palapag para iakyat ang mga gamit at may matuluyan sakaling tumaas ulit ang baha,” she added.
(The families can also use the second floor to transfer their belongings should flood water rise.)
Moreover, Hontiveros underscored the role of NDRRMC in ensuring the safety of the areas where government facilities, such as resettlement areas or schools used as temporary shelters and evacuation centers, are being built.
“Typhoons may be caused by things beyond our control, but their effects and impacts are differentially experienced by the rich and poor,” she stressed.
“Umaasa akong bibigyan ng pansin ng NDRRMC ang kaligtasan ng mga lugar kung saan nakatayo ang government facilities para sa mahihirap. Hindi pwedeng tayo lang ng tayo ng mga istruktura. Dapat ito ay disente at malayo sa panganib,” she added.
(I hope the NDRRMC will consider ensuring the safety of resettlement areas of the government for the poor. We can’t just build infrastructure. It should be decent and safe.)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
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.