The Duterte administration hopes to close the gap in the number of housing units with the actual beneficiaries following the devastation brought by Typhoon Yolanda several years ago, the head of the National Housing Authority (NHA) said on Thursday.
Reporting to President Rodrigo Duterte the accomplishments of the NHA, general manager Marcelino Escalada Jr. said that during the Duterte administration, the housing agency has completed 148,000 housing units for Yolanda survivors.
There will be an additional 24,526 units by December of 2021, and 21,574 by June of 2022, he added.
“All in all we shall be able to close already the target beneficiaries of Yolanda, which was 204,000 in 2014,” Escalada told the President.
The NHA chief called the housing projects built during the Duterte administration “new Yolanda,” arguing the “old Yolanda” is an irreversible situation that can’t be undone.
“We cannot do — tapos na ‘yun siya. Bidded out na, constructed na, completed na, so let it be that way. But the new Yolanda under the Duterte administration should be something better than that of the previous one,” he said.
Escalada also reported the close cooperation between the NHA, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and the Department of National Defense (DND) with regard to the release of funds for communities affected by natural disasters.
For instance, when an earthquake hit Mindanao, the government successfully built houses for affected residents of Magsaysay and Kidapawan.
Through the endorsement of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, DHSUD Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario approved the release of funding for Makilala, Tulunan, Arakan, Magpet, and M’lang.
NHA also responded following the eruption of Taal Volcano. It constructed a total of 2,558 units and made an allocation for the construction of 600 units in Ibaan. There are ongoing projects in Talisay — the Residences Phase 1 and Phase 2.
Similar projects are being done in Bicol Region. Two projects were bidded out: the Tabaco Housing Project Phase 1, 966 units; and Tabaco Housing Project 2, 1,395 units.
There are also nine additional projects for the region.
To provide communities affected by calamities with direct and quicker response, the government revised the Emergency Housing Assistance Program (EHAP), according to Escalada.
“So we are giving P5,000 to P30,000, whenever there are disasters such as landslides, fires, storm surge, typhoons, and other calamities,” Escalada explained.
“Depending upon the degree, Mayor or Mr. President, of the damage from 10 percent, 20, 30, 40, up to 100 percent, so you get the equivalent ratio or the equivalent amount of the damage in terms of peso value. So you have P5,000 to P30,000.”
Currently, NHA was able to extend assistance to 115,649 beneficiaries, disbursing around P1.3 billion. He assured the President that the agency still has funds to respond to future calamities and disasters. PND