MANILA — An inspection team jointly dispatched by the National Housing Authority (NHA) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has validated reports that substandard materials were used in the construction of housing units in Eastern Samar for victims of typhoon “Yolanda”.
In a press conference on Tuesday, House Committee on Housing and Urban Development Chairman Alfredo Benitez said the team conducted a site inspection in Balangiga, Eastern Samar last week to verify the materials used in the housing units.
A certain Camilo Salazar alleged in a previous congressional hearing that the principal contractor of the Yolanda housing projects in Eastern Samar, JC Tayag, used 8-millimeter steel rods in the house construction in Balangiga instead of the required specification of 10 millimeters.
Tayag, however, categorically denied the allegation of Salazar, who claimed to be a third-party contractor of JC Tayag Builders Inc.
“The allegation of substandard issue to the single unverified testimony of Mr. Salazar is malicious. We categorically denied this false allegation of Mr. Salazar,” Tayag said.
Benitez said the inspection team uncovered the size of the reinforcing steel bars averaged at 8 millimeters.
The team also discovered that the contractor used undersized bars of 12 millimeters, which is below the requirement of 16 millimeters.
Benitez said his committee will expand the coverage of its investigation to other contractors in Eastern Visayas.
“With this evidence that we’ve uncovered, we will expand our investigation to other housing projects of Yolanda not just in Eastern Samar,” Benitez said.
Benitez said his committee may recommend the termination of Tayag’s contract, as well as the filing of criminal charges against the main contractor.
Benitez said Tayag could be guilty of perjury, plunder and syndicated estafa, while NHA officials may be held liable for the delayed implementation of the housing projects.
The House leader earlier revealed that only 23,414 of the projected 205,128 housing units under the government’s resettlement program for the Yolanda typhoon victims are being occupied.
Benitez explained that the reason for the low occupancy rate at a meager 11.4 percent is the substandard construction of Yolanda housing projects.
Among the issues in resettlement areas for Yolanda victims that the committee has identified include the inadequate size of housing, substandard quality of housing structures, lack of livelihood opportunities in resettlement sites, lack of potable water supply and power line in the area. (PNA)