Senator Hontiveros wants probe of slow ‘Yolanda’ rehab
Sen. Risa Hontiveros has sought a legislative inquiry into the planned resettlement of survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in an area near a dump in the northern part of Tacloban City, noting the possible health risks it may pose for residents.
Through Senate Resolution No. 206, Hontiveros, chair of the committee on health and demography, called for an investigation into the government’s action to address health and sanitation issues in the resettlement areas they selected.
Her call comes as disaster survivors are set to mark the third year since the destructive super storm took thousands of lives and left the city and other parts of Eastern Visayas in shambles on Nov. 8, 2013.
“…[D]espite several appeals to the National Housing Authority, the Department of Health, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, local government units and other key offices to address the issues on health and sanitation, these remain to be the biggest concern among the families in the permanent resettlement sites,” said Hontiveros in her resolution.
“…[A] joint inquiry to look into the situation and determine whether interventions done by various stakeholders, such as the NHA, DOH, NEDA, DENR and local officials, are sufficient is a necessary action to address these existing health and sanitation issues and to prevent similar occurrences with the incoming population targeted for relocation,” she said.
A study carried out in the last quarter of 2015 showed that “three out of four permanent resettlement sites” housing more than 2,000 residents were located close to the city’s dump.
The government is planning to relocate a total of 16,000 families or about 80,000 residents to 14,433 housing units in northern Tacloban, some 15 kilometers away from downtown, over a period of four years until 2018. This accounts for some 40 percent of the city’s total population.
Hontiveros noted that apart from limited employment opportunities in the resettlement areas, “issues such as lack of basic facilities and improper sanitation and waste management” already came up last year, “resulting [in] widespread incidence of sickness and contamination.”
She said there is also poor water supply in the resettlement area and an “ineffective sewerage system.”
Apart from the health committee, Hontiveros also asked the committee on urban planning, housing and resettlement chaired by Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito to lead the inquiry.
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