• P8B more for Yolanda houses

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    THE government has allotted an additional P8 billion through the National Housing Authority (NHA) for construction of permanent housing units for victims of Typhoon Yolanda, bringing the total allotment for the project to P19 billion.

    The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Monday said the budget will be released despite supposed delays in the signing of the master plan for the rehabilitation of areas ravaged by the typhoon.

    The DBM, on October 20, released P11 billion for the same purpose as announced by Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo Lacson last week.
    The P8 billion was sourced from the 2014 Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program (RRP), Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said.

    “Ultimately, our goal is to restore normalcy in these communities and improve their resiliency to disasters. This release will not just allow the NHA to provide shelter to Yolanda’s survivors. It will also ensure that the affected families will have quality, permanent housing that will enable them to weather future disasters safely,” Abad added.

    The DBM made the request for funds after assessing the housing requirements of the different areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda.

    The funds will be used to construct 64,982 houses in Region IV-B (areas in Palawan), 708 units in Region V (areas in Masbate), 102 in Region VI (areas in Capiz, Antique, Iloilo, Aklan and Negros Occidental), 24,481 in Region VII (areas in Cebu) and 6,292 in Region VIII (areas in Eastern Samar, Biliran and Leyte).

    Abad explained that the construction of the new houses is part of the “build back better” strategy of the government.

    “More than just building permanent housing for the Yolanda victims, the government is implementing the ‘Build Back Better’ strategy to rebuild communities in safer areas rather than in the danger zones where they were first located,” he noted.

    The “Build Back Better” goal also means government will target stronger infrastructure and better opportunities for economic growth in the newly-built or rebuilt communities, from properly repaired roads that can transport goods from farms to markets, to the reconstruction of classrooms, Abad said.

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