The completion of 10,835 units of permanent houses meant for Super Typhoon Yolanda survivors in Samar Island has made it easier for local government units to transfer families from danger zones to safer grounds.
Basey, Samar Mayor Luz Ponferrada is upbeat that with the intervention of the national government, relocation of families living near the shoreline will be hastened.
“This is a commendable effort to help homeless families. I hope that our collaboration will not end after the signing of a memorandum of agreement, but rather this will serve as a start for a better and stronger relationship in providing decent and livable houses for those who need most,” Ponferrada told the Philippine News Agency on Wednesday.
Of the 10,835 housing units turned over by the national government on Saturday, nearly 6,000 were built in Basey, a coastal town flattened by the monster typhoon in 2013.
Hernani, Eastern Samar Mayor Amado Candido is optimistic that with the turnover of completed houses, the construction of ongoing Yolanda housing projects in their town will be fast-tracked.
Of the almost 1,000 families who need relocation, 250 of them moved to houses built by the Gawad Kalinga while 55 families got new houses from the United Nation Development Programme.
“We still have 700 families in danger zones who badly need the permanent houses. We are doing our best to help them own a better and safer house,” Candido said.
Hernani, a coastal town Eastern Samar facing the Pacific Ocean, heavily suffered the brunt of Super Typhoon Yolanda.
On Saturday, the central government has turned over 10,835 permanent houses for Super Typhoon Yolanda survivors in Eastern Samar and Samar provinces.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles led the turn-over of housing projects for recipients in 17 sites in the towns of Guiuan, Mercedes, Hernani, Balangiga, and Llorente in Eastern Samar and in Marabut, Basey, Zumarraga, and Sta Rita in Samar.
“The Duterte administration’s target is to finish all Yolanda housing projects within the President’s term because we don’t want the next administration to inherit the delay,” Nograles said.
When the President assumed in 2016, about 19,000 houses were completed out of the 56,640 units in Eastern Visayas region.
As of September 2019, some 34,140 housing units have been fully completed, 11,864 are partially completed, and 10,636 units are still under construction.
The National Housing Authority (NHA) committed to finishing all “Yolanda” housing projects by 2020.
Nograles said the government is not only concerned about finishing all houses within the timetable, but will also work on building livable communities with electricity and water supply, schools, health centers, markets, and other facilities.
The Cabinet official tasked to supervise post-“Yolanda” projects, reminded town mayors to carefully choose beneficiaries since the housing units are for free. The selection is being undertaken by the local inter-agency committee.
Michelle Arpon, 45, one of the housing recipients in Guiuan town said their new house gives him the feeling of safety in future calamities.
“My family is thankful for this help from the government. We are more secure here than in our old house near the shore. We don’t need to pack our things if a typhoon is coming,” Arpon said.
“Yolanda,” said to be the strongest typhoon in world history, struck the central Philippines and wreaked havoc to 175 cities and towns in 14 provinces in 6 regions. The disaster killed more than 6,000 people.
The total cost of damage and losses in “Yolanda”-affected areas reached PHP101.79 billion, of which PHP48.79 billion was in Eastern Visayas. (PNA)
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