The national government thru the DSWD under the former Sec. Dinky Soliman appeared to be blamed for too much delay in completing the core shelters construction for the survivors three years after the powerful earthquake struck Bohol on October 15, 2013.
Â This is aside from usual bureaucratic government red tape and politics that came into play in the delay, interviews of the survivors revealed. They said that they donâ€™t understand why and how this happened to them.
Quake survivors heavily criticized the snail pace of the the project aimed at building some 8,083 houses in 17 towns mostly devastated by the tremor in 2013. Some of them are still suffering in tents or in their destroyed houses where the materials for the planned house construction were already in their backyard.
However, they (survivors) heavily criticized the snail pace of the the project aimed at building their houses in 17 towns mostly devastated by the tremor in 2013 as promised. Some of them are still suffering in tents or in their destroyed houses where the materials for the planned house construction were already in their backyard.
But Habitat for Humanity Foundation, which is originally tasked to build some 8,083 core shelters under a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with funding from the DSWD, did not categorically say if indeed the government caused the snag of the project.
Charlie Ayco, executive director of Habitat, which has been successful in house endeaours in some parts of the country and in the world providing homeless with decent houses, said that Habitat wanted to cut their load as far as the number of house units to be constructed is concerned.
Â He said Habitat had written letter to DSWD â€œas early as 2014 asking that Habitat would limit our number of housesÂ to 4,536â€ from 8,083 as planned.
Â But unfortunately it appeared that DSWd did not respond immediately of Habitatâ€™s request until the following year (2015). And only early this year (2016) that DSWD allegedly made the decision and let the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to come in, cutting more than half the number of houses Habitat has to complete.
Â What prompted Habitat to reduce the load to 4,536, not 8,083 houses to be built, was the fact that it was then more expensive and the cost of logistics became so high on its part.
Â Based on said MOA, Habitat had only to shell out Php18,000 as counterpart plus the DSWD fund of Php70,000 per unit. Ayco said that â€œour counterpart has reached around Php50,000 per unit instead of Php18,000/unit.â€ The counterpart could not complete one unit, he said.
Â He cited as an example of high cost was the delivery of materials â€œbecause we need to detour road to deliver materials since temporary bridges could not be crossed by fully loaded trucks.â€
Â Habitatâ€™sÂ Vicente Delector, project manager for Bohol, admitted this is the first time they built or building shelters on-site or where the victims abode is located unlike other housing project they went through in past years, which were in relocation areas.
Â Raising not just roofs but hope for the homeless, Habitat has been instrumental in completing some 200 units in barangay Bool in this city in early 1990s. Then U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Habitat founder, came in here to launch the project.
Habitat has already completed a total of 3,400 out of its task of building 4,536 units in Bohol and 792 are still on going, according to its construction monitoring report made available to this writer. And 344 units are having materials partially delivered.
Â Among Habitatâ€™s beneficiaries where the towns of Bunevista with a total of 301 beneficiaries; Inabanga, 450; Clarin, 316; Tubigon, 611; Calape, 552; Loon, 1,255; Sagbayan, 1,035; Carmen, 592; Danao, 113; Balilihan, 111; Antequera, 664; Catigbian, 101; San Isidro, 311; Sevilla, 100; Cortes, 519; Corella, 19; and Maribojoc, 1,033, the report said.
Â Delector said that Habitat and provincial government thru Gov. Edgar Chatto insisted that beneficiaries issued with certificate of entitlement and whose houses have already been built but not yet completed should be prioritzed, apparently doing away of the government policy that those who initiated construction by other means or from other source should not be included in the governmentâ€™s aid or delisted from the roll.
Ayco in his fb post has this to say: â€œWe are expected to complete our assigned houses of 4,536 units within this year. Unfortunately, almost 100 families still do not have land where we could build their houses since this is an on-site reconstruction.â€
â€œBy the way, over and above our partnership with DSWD, we have completed houses in Carmen, Catigbian and Loon (Catagbacan) without any DSWD counterpart. The total is over 100 houses. We also spent millions to repair and/or install large water systems (complete with filtration facilities) in Inabanga, Tubigon, Maribojoc, Sevilla and Candijay. There are also school buildings and health centers in various municipalities,â€ Ayco said. (rvo)