‘Yolanda’ survivors hit out at snail-paced housing

TACLOBAN CITY—Storm survivors have blamed Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino for their lack of decent housing after President Rodrigo Duterte tasked him to complete the housing backlog on Nov. 8 last year.

“Your intervention in November 2016, Mr. President, made us believe that change has finally come to victims of super typhoon Yolanda. We welcome your assigned assistant, thinking he would follow through and ensure all of us will enjoy the ‘Biyaya ng Pagbabago,’ a group of storm victims said in their letter to the President.

While the survivors expressed appreciation to the investigation by the House Committee on Housing into the alleged corruption behind the issue, they  accused Dino of being the reason why Duterte’s housing program remained snail-paced.

“However, the dismal condition we are now in demonstrates the failure of Mr. Dino and the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas. We suffered three long years under the Yellow administration. But our continued suffering under your administration could only [be] because your point man in the Visayas is all about PR and not actual performance,” they said.

In their letter, received by the Office of the President on Sept. 29, the survivors asked Duterte to “call the attention [of] and discipline Dino for not doing his job you specifically assigned to him regarding the state of the victims of super typhoon Yolanda.”

Also, they asked for Dino’s replacement as in-charge in the completion of “Yolanda” housing project. 

“Simultaneous with addressing the corruption that led to this situation, please give priority to providing us with decent housing before year ends.”

Meanwhile, Kilusang Pagbabago in the Visayas, another group supportive of Duterte, said it “will work closely with the appropriate government agencies and will not stop until the root causes are uncovered and prosecuted.”

“Yolanda survivors are still suffering because of corruption and neglect with the fourth anniversary of the tragedy this Nov. 8, 2017 fast approaching,” said Fr. Jose Elmer Cajilig, KP’s lead convenor in Region 6 and co-convenor in the Visayas.

“The Yolanda issue had led to the defeat of the Yellow administration in 2016 because of three years of corruption, foot-dragging, and incompetence. One year into the new administration is already too long even for a patient people,” Cajilig said.

According to him, they will give priority in helping Yolanda survivors.

Meanwhile, the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas belied the news article that came out on Manila Standard headlined “Yolanda Housing Czar hit” dated Oct. 30, saying the report was erroneously attributed to PA Michael Lloyd Dino.

“The Presidential Assistant for the Visayas was never appointed by the President to be the ‘Yolanda Housing Czar.’

It said: “PA Dino received verbal instructions from President Rodrigo Duterte on November 8 last year when both visited Tacloban City, to relocate immediately the Tacloban Yolanda Housing beneficiaries from the danger zone to the housing units on different relocation sites in Tacloban.

“On 17 December 2016, PA Dino formally thanked the different line agencies and LGU of Tacloban during a thanksgiving ceremony for their full cooperation after relocating the beneficiaries in less than 20 days.

“On 14 January 2017, PA Dino formally handed over the work he did in Tacloban City to government line agencies during a meeting presided by Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco in Davao City.

“The President’s task to PA Dino was to immediately relocate the housing beneficiaries in Tacloban, who initially refused to be displaced and relocated due to lack of infrastructure facilities.

“Through cooperation of the different government line agencies, NGOs and LGU of Tacloban, PA Dino was able to provide the relocation site with power, water and transportation while health services were put in place in the newly built communities.

“PA Dino was not tasked by the President in the construction of houses for Yolanda Housing Project. Construction of the Yolanda Housing units is undertaken by the National Housing Authority.

“The Presidential Assistant for the Visayas continues to monitor the progress of the Yolanda Rehabilitation Projects in the Visayas as part of its mandate to advise the President,”  OVAP’s Assistant Secretary Anthony Gerard Y. Gonzales said in a statement published on its official Facebook page.

Earlier, Tacloban Mayor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez thanked  Duterte for his “swift for the swift action on building the housing for the Yolanda victims and relocation programs” and Dino “for setting the tone and the pace of the rehabilitation efforts.”

During the Yolanda 3rd commemorative celebration in Tacloban, Duterte said he was not satisfied with the government’s housing project which was started by erstwhile President Benigno Aquino III.

“I’d like to ask the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas to—Mike Dino, I’ll put him in charge. Kaya nga, Presidential Assistant siya. Mike, maggawa ka ng bahay diyan, diyan ka tumira….you oversee the—I want this thing completed. I will be back, December,” Duterte said in a speech Nov. 8 last year.

During the recent investigation by House Committee on Housing, it was found out that as of NHA’s August 2017 data, they only completed 71,629  housing units, where 24,000 of them were occupied.

The agency is reportedly targeting 205,128 housing units in its project.

Topics: TACLOBAN CITY , Tacloban Mayor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez , Michael Lloyd Dino , Fr. Jose Elmer Cajilig
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