NHA accepts Duterte challenge to finish Yolanda housing units
TACLOBAN CITY—The National Housing Authority (NHA) in Eastern and Central Visayas vowed to do everything to finish the dwellings for those displaced by Super Typhoon “Yolanda” in response to President Duterte’s order last month.
Constancio Antiniero, NHA-Eastern Visayas manager, said 52,165 of the 63,343 housing units for families, who lost their houses, have been constructed in the region as of June 29.
At least 41,967 houses were completed, while the remaining 10,198 were in “different stages of completion.”
“The commitment of the NHA is we will be completing all the Yolanda housing projects before the end of the present administration,” Antiniero said in a phone interview.
He, however, said the COVID-19 pandemic had affected their performance.
“We experienced a slowdown in our project because of the pandemic. Localized lockdowns and the transport of logistics have affected our operations,” Antiniero said.
Once the projects are completed and ready for occupancy, he said they would turn over these housing units to the local governments.
Antiniero said Tacloban City, the capital of Leyte, had completed 13,528 houses out of its target 15,058 units.
The housing projects in the city are spread in 17 at the northern portion of the city, which was considered to be the epicenter of Yolanda.
Antiniero said that while the housing units are completed, some units remain unoccupied.
“These could be due to lack of water supply or that the housing board of the locality are still in the process of identifying the real beneficiaries,” he said.
Yolanda, the strongest typhoon to hit inland, claimed more than 6,000 lives, affected 4.1 million residents, and damaged more than a million homes, mostly from Eastern Visayas on Nov. 8, 2013.
Duterte on Monday challenged NHA general manager Marcelino Escalada, Jr. to complete the housing projects for persons affected by Yolanda in six months, otherwise “you better find other jobs.”
In Central Visayas, the NHA also committed to complying with the President’s directives.
“We have no choice but to heed our President. I believe we, in Region 7, can deliver,” said Hermes Jude Juntilo, officer-in-charge of NHA-7, in a phone interview Tuesday.
“The standing instruction for all Yolanda projects is to complete it during his (President Duterte) term,” he added.
In Central Visayas, Juntilo said the NHA targets to construct 20,700 houses for victims of Yolanda.
As of Tuesday, about half of their target was completed.
Juntilo said it took them about four years to start constructing the houses for Yolanda victims since they had to wait for the funds from the government.
He expressed hopes that the remaining works would be completed within six months.
“I thank those people who waited for us to complete the project. Do not lose hope in our government and NHA,” he said.
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