Lacson promises to speed up construction of shelters

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FORMER Sen. Panfilo Lacson gave assurances that permanent housing units for victims of Typhoon Yolanda will be constructed soon with the approval of President Benigno Aquino 3rd of recommendations of various agencies to speed up the process.

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The rehabilitation czar said the President also approved a suggestion to allow local government units (LGUs) that already submitted their rehabilitation plans to implement them once line agencies complete their assessment.

So far, Cebu City, Tacloban City (Leyte) and Western Samar have submitted their rehabilitation master plans and they are being examined by various government agencies.

“It is not true that nothing is happening in the Yolanda corridor as claimed by groups that have been staging rallies and demanding that victims be allowed by the government to reconstruct their houses on their former land,” Lacson said.

The National Housing Authority (NHA) has committed to complete the construction of 214,000 housing units by 2016. This year, it plans to finish 34,000 houses.

The private sector, which consist of local and international non-government organizations (NGOs), also vowed to put up 134,000 houses and school buildings.

During a Cabinet meeting last Friday, Aquino approved recommendations that aim to simplify the acquisition of lands to be used as the permanent relocation sites for displaced typhoon victims.

Since the government disallowed the displaced families to rebuild their houses in high risk zones, it now needs 1,000 hectares of land to accommodate these families.

The proposals presented to the President were for the government to use lands that are parts of public domain and to acquire lands through direct purchase from private land owners.

Based on the computation of the NHA, a permanent shelter would cost around P200,000 per unit on a 40 square meter lot but since contractors also have to take into account the need for open spaces for roads, the price per unit will not be enough.

“We were able to resolve it after the President agreed to add P10,000 per unit if the NHA will be outsourcing the land,” Lacson said in a radio interview.

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