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Iloilo council unmasks substandard ‘Yolanda’ housing in Concepcion

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The Committee on justice, good government, and human rights of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) is investigating the alleged sub-standard housing project in Concepcion, Iloilo for victims of Typhoon Yolanda.

A public hearing was conducted Monday, which gathered members of the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) members of Concepcion town, representatives from the National Housing Authority in Western Visayas, and Hercar Builders, the contractor of the project.

In a media interview, committee chairman Renee Valencia, board member of the 1st district of the province, said that they will be conducting ocular inspection and interviews with the beneficiaries on the project site located at the village Bacjawan Sur.

But the specific date has not yet been identified because Valencia has yet to consult the availability of other SP members.

Participation of the representatives from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the provincial engineering office will also be expected during the inspection, she added.

During the public hearing, Valencia said there has been conflicting sides between the SB members of the town and the camp of NHA and their contractor with regards to the standards of the project.

“We want to know who is telling the truth,” she said.

Valencia said the NHA and its contractor said that they constructed the project in accordance with the plans and specifications. However, some SB members said construction was done not in accordance with the standards.

The P289-million housing project is composed of 1,000 units of houses.

Out of the number, Valencia said that only 450 beneficiaries have occupied their houses and another 163 beneficiaries were already identified.

But she said that they cannot identify yet how many out of the 450 occupants are complaining of the alleged sub-standard houses.

Valencia stressed that beneficiaries of the project should have already occupied the houses months after typhoon Yolanda hit parts of Iloilo last 2013.

In a recent visit of Senate chairperson on housing committee JV Ejercito in this city, he also committed to inspect and investigate the housing project in Concepcion town as part of his committee’s ongoing investigation on the alleged irregularities in the resettlement and housing programs of the government for tragedy-stricken families such as victims of typhoons Sendong, Pablo, and Yolanda as well as the Zamboanga siege.

Last March, the municipal council of Concepcion also investigated the housing project after the local government received number of complaints from concerned citizens against the alleged sub-standard houses. (PNA)