NHA Contractors Barred from Housing Projects

NHA General manager Marcelino P. Escalada said they are open to all forms of investigation.-Photo: Newsline.ph

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The National Housing Authority (NHA) barred almost all of its 20 contractors who were awarded contracts to undertake the Yolanda Housing projects. Marcelino P. Escalada, General manager of the NHA said “show cause” order was sent last month and most, if not all, failed to legally explain why they can still join bidding for NHA housing projects, this is tantamount to disqualification.

” The previous administration embarked on a multi-billion massive housing projects after super typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) devastated several communities in the Visayas. Among those who got big contracts was JC Tayag Builders and 19 others for the 30 housing projects.

Out of the 205,128 housing units needed, 95% or 194,454 have already been bidded out to contractors as of October 30 this year. “Our mandate is to ensure that every housing project given to housing applicants are liveable and comfortable structures which they can proudly call their home.”

There was massive discrepancy in the implementation of the Yolanda housing projects “The members of the Committee on Housing at the House of the Representatives are living witness to the sub-standard and massive housing irregularities which even prompted some beneficiaries to abandon their assigned houses,” he added.

The contractor JC Tayag, used sub-standard construction materials which was validated during the visit of Housing Committee chairperson Aldy Benitez in Balangiga, Eastern Samar. Instead of using 10-mm steel bars for the project, the JC Tayag Construction only used 8-mm. There is only slight difference in the price between the 8-mm and the 10-mm steel bars but the strength of the building is compromised. Benitez is eyeing to file charges of perjury and syndicated estafa against Benitez after making false statements during a House of Representatives probe.

During the Congressional investigation on the use of sub-standard materials, contractor Juanito Tayag denied using 8-mm steel bars, a thing which provoked members of the Congress attending the probe.

“We do not want to venture answering the questions about the previous administration’s housing projects because we were not privy to the agreement,”  Escalada said. “Coordination among agencies working for the project was wanting and often, local government officials intervene in the choice of location with housing applicants complaining about the distance,” he added.

During this administration, Escalada  stressed “NHA is making sure that all construction standards are complied and  specifications carefully observed. Contractors who will fail in the provisions of the contracts will be sanctions with liquidated damages and worst— termination of contracts and blacklisting.”

NHA is supporting the probe to avoid the same errors in implementing NHA housing projects and promote transparency.