MANILA, Philippines – As the Philippines prepares to commemorate the 4th anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), Malacañang condemned delays in the rehabilitation of typhoon-stricken areas.
"The delay in the reconstruction of Yolanda-devastated areas is simply unacceptable as far as the President is concerned," said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque on Monday, November 6, during a Malacañang press briefing.
He added that President Rodrigo Duterte "promises prosecution for the subhuman housing" found by the House committee on housing and urban development to have been constructed in places like Tacloban City in Leyte and Balangiga in Eastern Samar.
Duterte has put housing czar Eduardo del Rosario and Presidential Assistant Wendel Avisado in charge of Yolanda rehabilitation.
The House committee on housing and urban development reported on the lack of progress in housing in Yolanda-affected areas last September.
Citing data from the National Housing Authority (NHA), lawmakers said 205,128 houses were supposed to have been constructed for typhoon survivors. But of that, only 11.4% are occupied, according to the NHA itself. Only 33% have been completed, although lawmakers believe the real figures are much lower.
Out of the country
In 2016, the President visited Tacloban City during the super typhoon's 3rd anniversary. There, he demanded the fast-tracking of housing construction. (READ: How the Duterte administration is fast-tracking Yolanda recovery)
This year, however, Duterte will not be in the country during the Yolanda anniversary.
"Unfortunately, November 8, we will be in Vietnam, where the President will be attending APEC. And afterwards, of course, is ASEAN," said Roque.
But he gave assurances that the Duterte administration has learned from past mistakes when it comes to dealing with Yolanda's devastation.
"On Yolanda, there are very good lessons learned," said the spokesman. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.