Low completion, occupancy rate noted in Yolanda housing program

By Minerva Newman

CEBU CITY – Low completion rate, low occupancy and lack of basic utilities are the persisting issues in the government’s Yolanda housing program in Cebu, according to the latest report from the National Housing Authority (NHA) that was disclosed in Cabinet Secretary regional conference/dialog with government agencies and local government units in Cebu Thursday.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles (SCREENSHOT / RTVM / FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN)
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles (SCREENSHOT / RTVM / FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN)

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, in a dialogue with the local media, said that, of the total housing demand of 205,128 units in the Yolanda corridor, 10.93 percent or 22,423 were in Cebu. And out of this number, only 5,272 units have been fully completed.

“Of the completed housing units, only 731 are occupied, while 4,541 units are ready for occupancy,” Nograles added.

The low occupancy of the units persisted as a problem in the Yolanda corridor due to the lack of basic utilities such as water and electricity in the resettlement sites, and the distance of the sites from and to the workplace and source of income of the beneficiaries, Nograles bared.

According to Nograles, reports from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) here bared that there were several roadblocks why there was a marked low completion rate of housing site development for Yolada victims.

Nograles cited land acquisition for water source development near Yolanda housing sites as a major issue in providing water utilities to the areas.

In other areas, developers request mutual termination of construction projects due to problems on non-issuance of permits, licenses and clearances, Nograles said.

In Camotes Island, for instance, the proposed sites by the local government units were still up for evaluation even until now that caused funding setbacks due to statutory restrictions and prohibitions especially on water projects, he stated.

“Camotes Island is still very problematic according to the NHA report because not one housing unit has been constructed. There are 16 towns from mainland Cebu, Bantayan and in Camotes Islands,” Nograles told media.

Nograles added that the Cabinet assistance meeting and dialog with mayors were held in Palo Leyte and here in Cebu to find solutions to issues, concerns and problems in the completion of the Yolanda housing program.