• Senator wants Senate to look into overpriced bunkhouses

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    Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito is set to file a resolution asking the appropriate senate committee to look into the reported overpricing of bunkhouses funded by the government for the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Hiayan).

    According to Ejercito people should not take advantage of the situation in Visayas especially during times when victims need a helping hand to rebuild their lives.

    “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 investigation on the reported overpricing of bunkhouses after receiving reports about it as early as December 18.

    Lacson did not named the officials being investigated but hinted that a congressman and an official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) are being investigated for allegedly “influencing” the choice of the contractors.

    Meanwhile ina related development, Senator Nancy Binay has asked the National Statistics Office (NSO) to waive all government fees for census services as a way to somehow ease the hardships of those who survived typhoon Yolanda.

    Senator Maria Lourdes Nancy Binay, in a letter to Carmencita Ericta, NSO Administrator, is asking the NSO to waive fees for the copies and certifications of birth, marriage and death documents.

    According to her such move would help the victims of typhoon Yolanda easily secure important personal records that are needed to establish not only for purposes of identification but likewise in other legal requirements in applying for multi-purpose loans, claiming insurance and others.

    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.

    There are approximately 12 million people affected by “Yolanda”, with more than 6,000 reported dead, and about 1,779 still missing.

    The NSO is mandated by law to keep and preserve the birth, marriage and death certificates of a Filipino citizen. These certificates are the bases for establishing the legal status of each and every Filipino.

    At the same time the neophyte senator also asked the NSO to set up online “mobile centers” that would cater to those individuals in far-flung and inaccessible locations, or in municipalities/cities whose functions still remain incapacitated.

    She noted that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has already waived passport renewal requirements for Yolanda survivors who lost their passports, and it would be a welcome move for typhoon victims if NSO would follow suit. JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA

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