Habitat stays but core housing jobs reduced

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Habitat stays but core housing jobs reduced

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Habitat For Humanity Foundation, Inc., a non-government entity commissioned to build some 8,083 core housing units in 17 towns affected by October 2013 earthquake, remains as partner with Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) but with its workload reduced to about half.

Gov. Edgar Chatto issued the statement in response to a query during the ‘Kita ang Gobernador,’ on Friday saying that the other half, about 4,000 housing units, will be handled by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), a Geneva, Switzerland-based organization, which also helped build houses in the aftermath of the tremor on October 15, 2013.

.He stressed that Habitat will not leave the project and will continue to finish its assignment. The amount of fund earlier released to Habitat would not be affected, the governor said.

He said he learned this for he attended the meeting with Habitat and IOM called by Social Welfare Sec. Corazon “Dinky” Soliman recently.

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 Soliman earlier said that they would replace Habitat for Humanity Foundation in the construction of core housing units to earthquake victims. “We are changing Habitat. It’s unfortunate. That’s what happened. We need to change because they’re not delivering,” Soliman told a press conference held at JJs restaurant here attending the Bottom-Up Budgeting with local officials.

Soliman was responding to media query on the update of the core housing project that reportedly caused so much delays.

She was with Budget Sec. Butch Abad and Gov. Edgar Chatto during a gathering of local officials tackling Bottom-up Budgeting (BUB).

The change of Habitat was seen as a dire effort due to the criticisms Habitat and the government are receiving due to the delay of construction of core housing units.

Of the 8,000 plus core houses for the 2013 earthquake victims proposed to be built, some 1,765 are already completed, Vince Delector, director of Habitat for Humanity Foundation, said.

Habitat is the implementer of the building construction to the tune of PhP88,000 worth of each house. Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) providing the bulk of the fund in the amount of PhP70,000 and the rest is shouldered by the Habitat, Charlie Ayco, Habitat executive director, once said.

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Delector told press conference that as of October 26, 2015, the figure (1,765) of core houses are under the first batch with 2,536 units. Some 790 of these (1,765) lack some fixtures such as lighting and plumbing; 2,355 units are structurally completed; and 1,031 are on-going; and 1,108 have not started yet for lack of materials.

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Delector clarified that the project actually began on September 2014, or several months after Habitat received the fund from the DSWD early of 2014.

It will be recalled that Sec. Dinky Soliman early of 2014 year turned over to Habitat the first tranche of a check amounted to PhP317,520,000 during a ceremony in Sagbayan town for core shelter construction. The second fund release to the tune of Php248,290,000 will come next. Sec. Soliman said that the government intends to build 8,083 quake victims’ houses funded by the said fund.

During the same occasion, signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the municipalities concerned represented by their respective mayors, the provincial government represented by Gov. Chatto and Habitat as the implementer of the core houses, was done.

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The agreement stipulates that the cost of the Core Shelter Assistance per unit will be PhP88,000 for totally damaged house, broken down as follows: Php70,000 from the DSWD and the PhP18,000 from the Habitat may be in the form of cash, labor including volunteers, land for the project, facilities or equipment, administrative cost, communal facilities, such as day care centers and libraries, social services such as medicines, missions, feeding programs. (rvo)

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