The House Committee on Housing has found substandard housing projects in relocation areas for the victims of typhoon Yolanda in 2013.
The panel has started an investigation upon the resolution of Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone. The panel went to some of the affected areas recently to conduct an investigation and shared some of their findings with the media.
Housing Committee Chairman Albee Benitez said, “there was a glaring substandarad construction of the faciltiies it was also in the visit that were able to stumble with one whistleblower who tetsified under oath during our formal hearing that the materials they sued for the construction of the yolanda housing were substandard. the reason he knows this particular eprson knows why it was substandard is because he was an authorized subcontractor of a mian contractor of the NHA this was a subject of much of our discussion we found out there was now a whistle blower that testified that the materials used were substandard which i think validated most of our eprception that the housing units being built are substandard this is one of those revelation we intend to pursue”
Benitez named their whistleblower, who he says was a subcontractor for some of the housing projects as a supplier of labor and some materials.” he mentioned he supplied labor and to a certain extent materials. engineer salazar camilo salazar from balangiga eastern samar. balangiga. under his subcontracting agreement i think he was to handle 50 units a total of 100 plus units being built in Balangiga. ang siansabi niya there was supposed to be 10mm ng mga bakal na gagamitin sa structure pinadala lang po was 8mm which he noticed some oft hem were rsuted may kalawang na ibang bakal . tinanong ko how much would one 10m cost 115 pesos for 8mm acording to his testimony 70-80 pesos 30% difference. basically what he was saying he was an engineer he had contracts overseas. may konting alam siya sa construction and you dont use this for foundation it will weaken the unit. he testified also that there were people who approached him trying to prevent him from testifying.”
Benitez added, “based sa tetsimony niya nakita niya substandard materials he reported it to his supervisor inexplain na di dapat yan ang gamitin. he refused to put those substandard materials.”
Evardone recalls one of the housing units has a fallen beam, even as he scored the NHA for not monitoring. “di naman nagmomonitor taga NHA on the performance nitong JC Tayag. sabi nga nung isa ..nakaligtas kami sa yolanda pagka kami tumira diyan baka diyan kami mamatay.”
Benitez says Salazar identified the principal contractor to be JC Tayag. Benitez says the NHA admitted that they did not authorize subcontracting. “allowed ba ang subcontracting on record NHA admitted it is allowed if it is authorized as of today nung hearing sa tacloban there has not been any authorization for subcontracting”
Evardone reveals more about JC Tayag.”almost mga 80% of the projects, NHA projects in ESamar was cornreded by JC Tayag. we will also ask the NHA to explain why the contracts went to JC tayag supposedly binibid yan 204 15 26 JC tayag sinsusbcontract subcontractor pinapasubcontract po sabi nga ng nakataura doon ang NHA pinagbabawalan sila magpako eh kasi “
Benitez says that” government should have built a total of 205,128 housing units since 2013 when the disaster happened as of today 4 years have passed on 23414 housing units are occupied a mere 11.4% this is based on NHA figures 33% accoridng to the report have been completed 73286 ongoing construction when we visited the site we were actually not convicned that this is the actual number which is why during the hearingwe asked the special audit of the COA to do an investigation and validate these figures on the ground makikita mo parang wala pang nangyari. 4 years nakakaawa po the victims of the calamity are still suffering as of today. suffering continues”
Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso points out that his district has gotten nothing in terms of housing units. “out of the 70B budgetes out of the 75.7B and 60.2B appropriated in my district alone 3rd district of leyte zero kami wala ni isang bahay nakatayo. the distribution of the housing units youll be surprised why naskip yung big bulk of leyte kung susumahin mo yung iloilo which got 43 thousand ang tacloban got only 14 thousand housing units lyete got 16 thousand units 3rd district of leyte zero. katanungan ko doon magkano pa ang natitira sa appropriated na 60.2B sabi nila 9B but di na pwede gamitin ng taga leyte dahil obligated na raw, di pala obligated dahil walang SARO. nagconstruct doon di tirahan ng tao, mas maganda pa nga piggery namin eh.”
Veloso is already eyeing possible charges against those behind this. “estafa ang ginawa i would say JC Tayag was guilty of estafa when he the corporation impressed upon the govt kaya niya magpatayo ng livable matinong mga bahay only to find out very very substandard ang ginamit na materials specifications designed by the DPWh di nila sinusunod. meron nang estafa. revised penal code meron tayong anti graft and corrupt practices act 4 years napabayaan ang mga biktima ng yolanda is proof enough of gross negilgence on the part of the NHA 3 kaso ang prublema nila diyan. doon sa JC Tayag and those na nagconspire on the part of the NHA…plunder yan. principal na contractor plunder yun.”
Evardone says 75.7B was allocated for the housing projects from the GAA and Supplemental budget but only 60B has been appropriated.
Ilocos Sur Rep. DV Savellano recalled the feed back they got from people when they visited.”di masaya mga tao kaya nung hearing karamihan doon di tumitira sa bahay umuuga pangit ang sewerage walang kuryente ang daming prublema nakakalungkto di ba.”
Benitez reveals one reason for this. “we found out one of the requirement of the NHA is titled property to be built on the ground in eastern visayas 70% of the areas are untitled kahit anong gawin natin there will be no substantial compliance with the NHA requirement because most of the lands in e visayas are untitled. the others of course is yung mga nakita naman natin doon na relocation site we found out that the project itself did nto have electricity did not have water those nalipatan sa Guian E. samar plus incomplete faciltiies which hampered the transfer. livelihood di kumpleto.”
Benitez reveals that for now the victims are staying in temporary shelters.”sa temprary shelters. iba bumalik sa danger zones.”
Benitez says they intend to investigate the matter further with the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability. Evardone said,”particularly in my province last week the committee went to my district and Tacloban City to precisely conduct the investigation and i think they were shocked to learn about the situation in the yolanda housing projects in my province because in some areas the projects have not been bidded out in some areas the projects have been bidded out but not yet started the otehrs were started but abandoned.”
Benitez adds more witnesses have come forward.