NHA says sorry over the bridge fiasco, vows impartial probe

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DAVAO CITY, Philippines — “I am sorry that it happened,” an apologetic National Housing Authority (NHA) general manager Marcelino P. Escalada emphasized,  in relation to a recent incident where two Congress representatives and a Mayor plunged into a waist-deep murky seawater when a stilt bridge collapsed Friday in Rio Hondo, Mariki, Zambaonga City.

Escalada promised to cooperate with any investigating body, and vow to hold liable all officials involves in the substandard housing project of the agency.

Many NHA housing projects for the survivors of the Zamboanga Siege, Typhoons Pablo, Sendong and Yolanda, have been reported completed before Escalada assumed office in 2016.

But he was instructed by President Rodrigo Duterte to conduct an in-house investigation and inspection on all housing projects following massive complaints of substandard units, unfit for human shelter.

“We are in the middle of our validation and re-inspection on all NHA projects completed before June 2016, due to massive irregularities in its construction and implementation, when it happened,”
he stressed.

“Since I assumed office, we’d been trying to rectify things and last Saturday’s inspection was part of the probe we are conducting to find remedy if not total solution to the housing woes,” Escalada added.

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New Concrete bridge

Though the project has been completed, the NHA, Escalada added “Will do the repair and redesigning of the footbridge.This time, a concrete bridge.”

Climaco-Salazar earlier called for a Congressional investigation on the substandard housing project.

.”The Z3R Housing Project was designed to give decent homes to those poor residents who were greatly victimized during the 2013 Zamboanga siege, and now they are again victims, this time, of NHA’s ineptitude.”

She stressed “I have personally appealed to the Honorable Committee on Housing and Urban Development of the House of Representatives led by Cong. Benitez to fully investigate the NHA in Zamboanga City, including its cohorts, the private contractors of the housing project. Let those found at fault face justice.”

Responding to the statement of Salazar, Escalada said, “Rest assured that we will cooperate in any investigation, it pains me because we are the agency concerned but, during the project implementation, there were concerned agencies which were involved and I hope, they too will cooperate in the investigation.”

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Beneficiaries of housing projects have complained from substandard housing materials to unfinished units. “I am saddened that all these happened, taxpayers money has been wasted. Those liable for these mess, should be made answerable, even if it means filing charges among NHA officials and personnel,” Escalada stressed.-Editha Z. Caduaya/Newsline.ph

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