Duterte to NHA: Build Houses for quake victims

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DAVAO CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the National Housing Authority to build houses for the victims of earthquakes from North Cotabato to Davao del Sur.

In his speech during his visit in Mlang, North Cotabato on December 30, Duterte publicly instructed NHA General Manager Marcelino Escalada to rebuild the houses of earthquake victims and make their lives comfortable in their own homes.

Duterte interrupted his speech and called on Escalda on stage, “Dali ra” as he asked him how many totally-damaged houses were noted. Escalada then briefed Duterte that in Makilala town, North Cotabato there are about 3,400 houses, in Magsasay town  2,000; Kidapawan, 1,700 while in Mlang and Tulunan  others financial assistance were given ranging from P30,000 to P20,000.

Escalada stressed “But we only have three sites for housing.” Duterte asked Escalada  “Kaya mo?” of which the MHA manager affirmatively responded. When asked how long will it take for NHA to build the houses,  Escalada said “Six months akong gihatag sa target nato, Mayor. By June next year i-turnover nako almost 1.8 billion worth of projects for three” of which Duterte said  “Okay”.

President Rodrigo Duterte giving instruction to NHA general Manager Marcelino Escalada Jr during the
groundbreaking of the housing project for Naga, Cebu Landslide victims on September 6, 2019. -Malacañan File Photo

Duterte continued “Siya po si Señor Escalada. He is really a government worker. He was with me in 1988 housing sa City Mayor’s Office. Ngayon, siya na ang pinaka top honcho. Marunong ito at hindi ito nangungurakot. Talagang tumagal sa gobyerno. ‘Pag sinabi niya, tiyak maasahan ninyo na tutuparin niya ang pangako niya.”

The NHA  according to Escalada has allocated P1.8-billion that would translate to  7,000 units. Duterte even cracked a joke as he instructed Escalada “Dalian mo kay para sunod na earthquake may matumba na naman,” a comment which solicited laughter among quake survivors.

The President said “the two succeeding earthquakes inevitably led to landslides and the collapse of major buildings, resulting in more deaths and injuries, and, the government will help the victims until they will be able to stand again after the trial”.

Kidapawan City Mayor Joseph A. Evangelista has earlier identified a property where for the NHA to construct houses for the families whose houses were totally damaged. Evangelista during the forum thanked Duterte and the NHA for their prompt action on the concerns of those who lost their houses.

In Magsaysag town, Davao del Sur the National Housing Authority (NHA) has started putting up new houses for residents displaced by the October quakes.

A house damaged by the magnitude 6.5 quake in Barangay Ilomavis, Kidapawan, North Cotabato.
Photo Courtesy: Melchor Bayawan

According to Anthony Allada, the Information Office of Magsaysay  Escalada personally came to supervise the construction of an initial 71 units of prefabricated houses in Barangay Malawanit here. Allada said the NHA has earmarked funds for the construction of 2,002 units all over the town but the one in Malawanit came ahead because it was there that the purchase for a relocation area had been done first.

“There are 13 relocation sites but Malawanit is the pilot area because it was the first to purchase a lot,” Allada said, adding that the construction of housing units in other relocation sites would soon follow.

Allada elaborated that the construction of the units was seen to take only a short time because what the NHA did was to lay down the materials for the flooring. “The prefabricated materials will be attached there, with steel bolts. This would be faster than starting from zero,” he said. Allada said each house costs about Php200,000.

The NHA has been carrying on its mandate to build mass housing for Filipinos who are victims of calamities and those living in danger zones.

The ground for for the NHA housing in Magsaysay, Davao del Sur.-Photo Courtesy: MIO/Magsaysay

Year 2019, according to Escalada “was very fulfilling and rewarding as we gradually see the fruits of our efforts to building quality housing for everyone, that is affordable, livable and reflective of PRRDs directive for comfortable living”. 

Escalada identified the following  projects which the NHA has undertaken upon the instructions of Duterte:

  • 1. RAP LGU support helps capacitate them
  • 2. Indigenous People’s (IP) housing
  • Former Rebels (FR) housing
  • 4. AFP PNP housing
  • 5. ISFs housing those those  living along danger zones
  • 6. Government housing for low salaried employees

Aside from the P1.8-billion for  Kidapawan, Makilala and Magsaysay, the NHA has also provided cash emergency shelter assistance for the partially and totally- damaged houses in the provinces of Davao del Sur and North Cotabato amounting to P30-million. 

All these, according to Escalada “was upon the instruction of PRRD to respond immediately in times of calamities, at least NHA is able to assist the med and long term solution to the problems of the earthquake victims.”-Editha Z. Caduaya/NewsLine.ph

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