THE Senate is poised to hold its own investigation into reports that the bunkhouses being constructed for typhoon victims are overpriced.
Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito said that he will file a resolution asking the appropriate Senate committee to look into the reported overpricing of bunkhouses funded by the government for families displaced by Super Typhoon Yolanda.
“This is not the time to take advantage of the situation when Visayas is in shambles. We should all be helping to get them back on their feet rather than take advantage of their predicament,” the senator said.
Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR) Secretary Panfilo Lacson has already ordered an investigation of the reported overpricing of bunkhouses after receiving reports about it as early as December 18.
Lacson did not name the officials being investigated but hinted that a congressman and an official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) are suspected to have influenced the contractors.
Architect Jun Palafox said that the bunkhouses were “substandard and undersized.” He said evacuees would live in cramped units with no ventilation.
“Based on international standard and my whole years of practice including 38 countries I have experienced, temporary shelters [bunkhouses]are built in a 21-22 square meters so that there will be room to separate the daughters from their brothers and fathers,” Palafox said.
He said that anyone involved in the reported anomalies in the construction of bunkhouses should be arrested to prove that the government is serious in eliminating corruption.
Palafox expressed fear that with the reported anomaly, donors may be dissuaded from pouring financial aid for the victims of the calamity.
“Arrest those who are involved in the anomaly, otherwise we will not be receiving donations from donors,” he told The Manila Times.
Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson had said that he will resign if the allegations of overpricing are proven.
However, a Palace official said President Benigno Aquino 3rd is unlikely to accept Santos’ resignation.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that Aquino continues to have full trust and confidence in Singson.
While he denied that there was overpricing, Singson, however, admitted that some of the contractors “may have not followed the specifications.”
In a related development, Sen. Nancy Binay asked the National Statistics Office (NSO) to waive all government fees for census services to ease the hardships of those who survived Typhoon Yolanda.
Binay, in a letter to Carmencita Ericta, NSO Administrator, said the NSO should waive fees for certifications of birth, marriage and death documents.
She added that the waiving of fees “is a concrete serviceable support as we try to help our countrymen rebuild and bring a sense of normalcy to their lives.”
“People are slowly picking up the pieces and having their identity papers at hand would lead to the restoration of their dignity and well-being,” Binay said.