• DPWH to provide building materials, not bunkhouses

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    The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has announced that the government is planning to stop the construction of temporary shelters in areas ravaged by super typhoon and instead will give construction materials to the survivors.

    The DPWH will provide P30,000 worth of construction materials to survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda whose houses were totally damaged and P10,000 for partially damaged, instead of pushing through with the construction of bunkhouses, Secretary Rogelio Singson said.

    Among the materials that the DPWH will be distributing to the survivors are galvanized iron sheets, lumber, tool kits, umbrellas and regular nails.

    Meanwhile, Habitat for Humanity on Tuesday launched a nationwide search for student-designed house and school prototypes that could withstand typhoons of Yolanda’s strength that crippled Tacloban City and adjoining towns in November, and Intensity 8-earthquakes such as the one that devastated Bohol in October.

    Charlie Ayco, chief executive officer and general manager of Habitat, said the project aims to answer the question: “How do we build for the future?

    The contest is in partnership with property developer Ortigas & Co. and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). The house and school design must withstand 380-kilometers-per-hour wind gusts. It must not cost more than P200,000 and it must be built in a month and a half. The house must have two bedrooms, a toilet and bath, a kitchen and a living space, all fitted within 36 square meters.

    Joey Santos, general manager of Ortigas real estate division, said they will pick three winners with the first placer standing to get P100,000 cash, the second placer P50,000 and the third placer P30,000. Winners will likewise each receive a computer package.

    Santos said students of colleges and universities offering architecture and engineering courses are welcome to join the contest. He said the winning design is open for adoption by public and other construction firms, adding that the winning piece has to pass the so-called tunnel test, a measurement that it could resist severe calamities.

    DOST Secretary Mario Montejo said the month of July is usually the start of the typhoon season and by that time we should have prepared for big events.

    Montejo said his department can now give warning and detailed advisories at least 24 hours before a calamity like Super Typhoon Yolanda strikes.

    Ayco announced that Habitat has received P355 million so far from various donors. He said they have distributed construction packages to an initial 10,000 beneficiaries in Samar, Leyte and Northern Cebu. Each package has 10 sheets of galvanized iron, 10 plywoods and nails, among others, enough to make a makeshift home.

    He said Habitat targets to build 30,000 permanent houses in safe places as their contribution to the 500,000 permanent houses the government intends to build in Yolanda-stricken areas. Ayco said they are seeking help from various sectors in transporting construction materials because of logistical challenges.

    “Thirty percent of the victimized families were living on the shorelines. They will be relocated to safe areas, at least 40 meters from where they live before. Seventy percent are on-site reconstruction,” Ayco said.

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