• Binay: 120,000 houses for Yolanda victims

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    GOVERNMENT housing agencies expect to construct this year 120,000 housing units for families displaced by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international codename: Haiyan), Vice President Jejomar Binay said on Sunday.

    The Vice President, chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and the head of the Yolanda Resettlement Cluster, added that as of December 2014, P13.4 billion has been released for the construction of 46,129 housing units. Of these, 37,500 have been bid out and awarded.

    “By the end of 2015, we plan to provide disaster-resilient housing in safer communities to families living in high-risk and hazardous areas,” Binay said in a statement.

    He added that an additional P1.3 billion has been approved for release while another P7.99 billion approved supplemental budget will generate an additional 31,752 housing units.

    “These projects have been bid out and ready for award but could not be awarded yet pending release of funds to the National Housing Authority,” Binay said.

    According to the Vice President, 205,128 houses are needed for Yolanda victims in 116 cities and municipalities.

    At the end of 2014, key shelter agencies had completed a total of 2,100 housing units.
    Binay admitted that the government housing agencies are facing several issues that hamper the construction of houses for Yolanda victims.

    One of these is the difficulty in identifying land suitable for housing with appropriate environmental clearances.

    “Administrative Order 44 was issued on October 28 which is expected to fast-track the issuance of clearances and permits. However, some concerned agencies are still crafting their respective IRRs [Implementing Rules and Regulations] while others just recently started operationalizing their processes,” Binay said.

    Another problem is that municipalities such as Camotes Island are still classified as reserved land.

    “In the case of these areas, we are still waiting for a Presidential Proclamation that will carve out areas that can be used for housing,” Binay said.

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