Senator JV Ejercito is set to grill contractors of housing projects for victims of natural and man-made calamities as the Senate housing committee resumes its hearing on the issue on May 30.
“We will subpoena the contractors to attend the next hearing on May 30 to find out who among them sub-contracted the project or projects that they got from the National Housing Authority [NHA],” he said.
Ejercito, chairman of the Senate housing committee, said the contractors have a lot of explaining to do regarding the revelation that the works were sub-contracted to other groups.
Last Monday’s hearing was the first to be conducted in connection with committee’s investigation into the alleged irregularities in the resettlement and housing programs of the government for tragedy-stricken families such as victims of typhoons “Sendong,” “Pablo,” and “Yolanda;” and “Zamboanga siege.”
Committee member Senator Cynthia Villar said it’s illegal if a contractor got a contract from the NHA but will engage a sub-contractor to do the actual job.
She said that those with strong connections at the NHA will get the permit and then, will do nothing.
“They will subcontract to others which is prohibited,” she added.
“Ang nangyayari, lowest bidder na (ang contractor), magpapa-sub-con (sub-contract) pa; si sub-con, magpapapakyaw pa. That probably explains why the materials ay talagang nagsa-suffer,” Ejercito said.
Ejercito was indignant over the troubles hounding the P66.45-billion resettlement and housing programs for the victims, ranging from sub-standard housing units, slow and delayed implementation, unsuitable locations, and lack of basic services such as water, electricity, health and sanitation; education, and livelihood opportunities.
The programs for calamity victims involve 353 projects for “Yolanda,” 28 for “Pablo,” 5 for “Sendong,” and 22 for the Zamboanga siege.”
For the four disaster housing resettlement projects, only 49.6 percent of the targets have been reached, while the occupancy rate for completed units is only 45.64 percent.
He said the mess in the program could not be blamed only on the contractors because the NHA is the one implementing, supervising, and monitoring the projects.
“We will hold accountable contractor-developer who were in cahoots with government officials remissed in their job,” he said.