The Department of the Interior and Local Government in Central Visayas (DILG-7) has been tapped to help the National Housing Authority (NHA) in awarding housing units to identified “Yolanda” beneficiaries in Cebu.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said early Thursday evening that 5,272 housing units have been fully completed for the Typhoon Yolanda victims in Cebu, but only 731 of these shelters are occupied.
“Because of the low occupancy rate, we asked the help of the DILG-7 in the awarding of the housing units,” Nograles said in a press conference at the Waterfront Hotel in Lapu-Lapu City.
Nograles said low occupancy is one of the most persisting issues in the implementation of the Yolanda Housing Project. Beneficiaries are reluctant to move in to their new houses due to lack of basic utilities, especially water, in the resettlement areas and because of the distance of the sites from their workplace and source of income.
“Our challenge, therefore, is to come up with a viable solution in addressing the low occupancy issue. We already asked the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) to fasttrack the water connection near Yolanda housing sites,” Nograles said.
The Cabinet secretary said they also urged the local government units (LGU) to reactivate and strengthen the Local Inter-Agency Committee in order to address the low occupancy issue.
Under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, construction and completion of Yolanda housing units have been speedy compared to the performance of the previous administration, Nograles noted.
“The government is committed to fast-track the completion of the housing projects. Maybe, the LGUs did not expect the construction would be finished at a much earlier time, thus the low occupancy rate,” he said.
The 5,272 completed housing units in Cebu Province are in Bantayan Island, Daanbantayan town, Medellin, San Remigio, Tabuelan, Tabogon, and Madridejos.
Nograles was in Cebu on Wednesday and Thursday to preside the closed-door Cabinet Assistance System (CAS) Meeting also at Waterfront Hotel.
The conduct of the CAS meetings outside Metro Manila is to provide opportunities for national officials to touch base with the people on the ground and check how government can help improve the lives of the people.
This article was originally published on PNA on May 17, 2019.