Some survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda in Palo, Leyte, have refused to occupy bunkhouses provided by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), preferring to stay in their houses made from materials left by the typhoon.
There are about 20 bunkhouses each consisting 12 to 24 rooms in Tacuranga village in Palo.
Four-hundred-eighty rooms were made available on Tuesday, 52 of which were occupied by the survivors.
Romy Gumban, chief of the Equipment Management Division of the DPWH, said each room measures 8.64 square meters.
Police officers Paul Rex Avila and Rochelle Villaruel have been assigned to secure peace and order at the bunkhouses.
They and five other officers have been augmented by the Regional Public Safety Battalion to police the area.
Boy Versoza, 51, a resident Tacuranga, said beneficiaries were told by the government to temporarily stay in the bunkhouses.
He explained that the bunkhouses provided by the national government are inhabitable and far from their source of income.
“I refused to live there [bunkhouses]because we are not going to stay there forever. We will only be allowed to stay for a year,” Versoza said.
The beneficiaries of the bunkhouses in Tacuranga share a few comfort rooms and cooking areas.
Lorena Quijada, 21, one of the 52 beneficiaries occupying a room, said they are going to stay there for six months to one year until a permanent relocation site is developed by the local government of Palo.
Quijada, a mother of one, said they will then be relocated again.
According to her, they have no choice but to live in the bunkhouses because they have nowhere to go.
Quijada’s house was among the thousands washed out by the super typhoon.
Emarlyn Petilla, Tacuranga barangay (village) chairman, pointed out that the residents will be relocated to Barayong barangay, the permanent relocation site for the thousands of Yolanda victims in Palo.
Meanwhile, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) also on Tuesday invited relatives of the typhoon victims to report to the bureau’s Tacloban City office for DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) sampling.
Edward Villarta, deputy director of Forensic Investigation Service, said several teams for disaster victim identification have been formed and will fly to Tacloban before the end the week.
According to records of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, the more than 2,000 cadavers that have not been properly identified are placed in a temporary burial site.
To make the sampling orderly, the NBI scheduled the procedure based on family names: A to E should report from May 19 to 24; F to J, May 26 to 31; K to O, June 2 to 7; P to T, June 9 to 14; and U to Z, June 16 to 21.
Villarta said relatives are encouraged to bring pictures, fingerprints and dental records of their missing relatives.
Six months after the onslaught of Yolanda, corpses are from time to time discovered in Tacloban.
Just last week, more than 30 dead bodies were recovered from under a ship that had been washed away several meters from the shore.
With JAIME R. PILAPIL