By Marie Tonette Marticio
CULABA, Biliran – Families living in coastal areas in this town claimed they were left out of the Yolanda housing resettlement project intended for those living in danger zones by the National Housing Authority.
Beneficiaries of the San Lorenzo Heights housing project in Barangay Guindapunan, which has more than 700 units, began moving into their houses last year, but many units remain unoccupied because there were no water and power connections.
Wilfredo Tan, 59, a resident of Barangay Marvel whose house is just a few meters from the sea, said his house was destroyed by Supertyphoon Yolanda in November 2013, but he was not able to receive aid from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
“We were included in the listing, but when I followed up, the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) said they forgot to include us in the list of housing beneficiaries,” Tan said.
Corazon Bertulfo and her husband Damiano said they wanted to be relocated because their house was destroyed by the typhoon.
“We were listed in the barangay and in the mayor’s office, they even took photos of our house, but we were not given a unit,” Bertulfo said.
Damiano said he sought out Mayor Lorenzo Reveldez, but did not get any assurance.
Other recipients also claimed they were being threatened with being delisted if they do not vote for particular candidates in the May 13 elections.
Margarita Villegas, another Marvel resident, said in a media interview they were told to vote for outgoing Mayor Reveldez, who is running for vice governor, and his brother, Councilor Rodito Reveldez, who is running for mayor in Culaba.
“We were told that we will not be awarded with our housing unit if we do not vote straight,” Villegas said.
“We are the beneficiaries of this pabahay project of our government, but we will not be given our unit as he claimed that he has the right whom to award the units,” she said, referring to the mayor.
A staff from MSWDO Culaba confirmed that the list of housing beneficiaries came from the mayor’s office.
“Kung may puso sila, maski saan pa kami bumoto bibigyan kami ng tulong dahil nakita naman nila ang nangyari sa amin,” Damiano Sr. said.
Mayor Reveldez and MSWD Officer Joy Castillo could not be contacted through their office and through their personal mobile phone numbers.