ZAMBOANGA CITY: The construction of housing units for displaced victims of last year’s rebel attacks has resumed after being suspended for the use of substandard materials, Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar announced on Thursday.
The suspension of the construction of 51 housing units was lifted after the National Housing Authority (NHA) vowed to comply with the recommendations of the local government.
Climaco-Salazar earlier ordered the suspension of the housing project after discovering the use of substandard construction materials.
Lawmakers, such as Rep. Rodolfo Biazon of Muntinlupa City, also earlier inspected the housing project and concluded that it was indeed substandard.
The NHA, the implementing agency for the project, subsequently issued a suspension order in response to Climaco-Salazar’s call.
The local official also assured that the local government would do everything it can to ensure compliance with all engineering standards.
“We cannot sacrifice quality with quantity,” she said.
The project in Santa Catalina village is being implemented in line with the Zamboanga City Roadmap to Recovery and Reconstruction.
Climaco-Salazar, meanwhile, said the local government’s recommendations to the NHA were based on the results of joint inspections conducted by the City Engineer’s Office, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Office of the City Planning and Development Coordinator, the BillRay Construction Co., and Santa Catalina village leaders.
Foremost among the recommendations is for the project contractor, through the NHA, to comply with the requirements for the issuance of appropriate permits for the project’s implementation and to retrofit the housing units.
The local government also recommended that the contractor reconstruct demolished housing units and those deemed to be beyond repair. In addition, it recommended furnishing appropriate plastering on walls, undertaking field density testing on soil bearing capacity, complying with appropriate construction methods, and using good quality construction materials sourced from accredited suppliers.
The project is intended to house residents of the area whose houses were damaged during last year’s three-week siege by members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
The street battles killed and wounded over 400 people and displaced some 120,000 people. The MNLF reportedly carried out the siege after being left out of the peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.