• House to probe bunkhouses scam


    The House of Representatives will soon be probing the alleged overpriced and substandard bunkhouses constructed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the survivors of super typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan).

    Rep. Fernando Hicap of Anakpawis party list is set to file a house resolution to probe the latest controversy surrounding the rehabilitation of places badly destroyed by the storm.

    “It seems that these bunkhouses were designed for corruption and source of kickback by some officials,” Hicap said.

    “There is an urgent need to conduct an inquiry on the construction of bunkhouses and temporary shelter for typhoon Yolanda victims. Two months after Yolanda struck, the national government has not presented its temporary and permanent housing plan for calamity victims who lost their homes.”

    The lawmaker noted that a comprehensive housing and shelter program must be a major component of the national government’s rehabilitation and recovery program for typhoon victims.

    He pointed out that during the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development meeting last November, the Department of Interior and Local Government, National Housing Authority, and DPWH failed to present actual plans or the provision of shelters for homeless Yolanda survivors.

    “We need to get to the bottom of this. If the anomaly is true, then it is a great disservice and betrayal to the victims of super typhoon Yolanda,” Hicap added. “The corruption surrounding the construction of bunkhouses doubly victimizes typhoon victims and their families who lost their livelihood and loved ones in the flood.”

    According to reports, the bunkhouses are overpriced by 30 to 35 percent. Renowned architect and urban planner Felino Palafox Jr. said in a television interview that one needs not to become an expert to see that the temporary shelters are of substandard quality.

    The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) has already started the investigation and said that the media reports on the overpriced bunkhouses have basis.

    Two months after Yolanda ravaged parts of Visayas, the government is yet to come up with a rehabilitation master plan. JHOANNA BALLARAN


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