Lawmaker seeks special audit on Yolanda housing projects

MANILA — A lawmaker in the House of Representatives has called for a special audit by the Commission of Audit (COA) on all housing projects under the government’s rehabilitation and recovery program for the victims of the 2013 typhoon Yolanda.

According to a press statement on Monday, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano said the subcontracting scheme for the Yolanda housing projects has caused the delay in the project implementation and the use of substandard construction materials.

Alejano explained that the subcontracting scheme, wherein winning contractors of National Housing Authority (NHA) projects tap local subcontractors for the projects, is not allowed especially without permission from the NHA.

“I requested for a COA Special Audit to look into the status of the housing projects under the Yolanda program and especially to validate reports of the subcontracting scheme in the implementation of the housing projects and use of substandard materials in the construction,” he said.

Furthermore, Alejano urged the NHA to provide pertinent documents regarding the “anomalous and sub-standard housing projects.”

Among the documents, he requested include a list of contractors awarded projects by the NHA, and number, location and status of construction of projects; Statement of Allocation and Obligation; and financial and physical reports.

Alejano participated in a two-day public inquiry of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development in Tacloban City last August 31 and September 1.

Before the public inquiry, the committee also conducted ocular inspections on the housing sites in Eastern Samar.

“Almost all projects under the housing program are still in different stages of construction. Meron pang tumigil ang constructions dahil wala ng pasahod sa manggagawa. Almost four years after Yolanda but the victims are still waiting for their houses,” Alejano said.

The lawmaker expressed hope that those using the Yolanda housing program “for corrupt and illegal activities” be held accountable.

Ang programa ay talamak sa korapsyon. Hindi lamang dapat tapusin na ang implementasyon ng programa kung hindi dapat managot din ang mga tao sa gobyerno at contractors na nagkuntsabahan para perahan ang programang ito,” he said.

Alejano also appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to address the issues on Yolanda housing projects amid his orders of fast-tracking the provision of housing aid.

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