DPWH vows to make bunkhouses livable
by Jenny F. Manongdo
January 11, 2014 (updated)
January 11, 2014 (updated)
Manila, Philippines – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has vowed to adjust the dimensions of the “Yolanda bunkhouses” to make them conform to international standards after the temporary shelters for typhoon victims were criticized for being undersized and substandard.
According to the DPWH, each bunkhouse can be divided into 24 units and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has the option to allow families with four members to use two adjacent rooms.
“It’s so easy to dismantle the partition between two units so that each family can occupy a wider area of 17.28 square meters,” DPWH Secretary Rogelio L. Singson said yesterday.
“It will take some time to identify the sites for permanent housing and eventually the building of permanent housing structures for these dislocated families. The construction of temporary shelters will provide them with more decent living quarters rather than in tents or evacuation centers exposing them to natural elements,” he added.
The DPWH chief said they are closely monitoring the contractors’ compliance to the approved specifications of the bunkhouses before payment is released to them.
At least 87 contractors have volunteered to construct the bunkhouses in 42 sites in Eastern Visayas. Among them are AKH Const., eight units; JD Legaspi, five units; Goldrock, two units; R. Lustre, two units; Kings Builder & Dev. Corp., two units; JMT Const., one unit; Dumlao Const., one unit; Reyrose Const., eight units; CSL Const., two units; Rowies Const., two units; Tabada Const., two units; Reggie Built Const., one unit; Alzam Const., one unit; D. Gos Teston Const., one unit; and PJ San Pedro Const., one unit.
Around 32 families, or approximately 88 individuals who survived super-typhoon “Yolanda” and sought refuge in Manila, will be bidding Metro Manila goodbye on Saturday as they will be heading back home.
Emotions are running wild, with fear and apprehension unfortunately at the forefront. While their hearts will always think fondly of home, they cannot shake off their worries on how to rebuild their lives there.
The local Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) of Pasay City said the families will be transported home via a bus, although everything is still under preparation at this point.
The Pasay City government has taken full responsibility of the tent city dwellers, although they have sought the help of the national government in ensuring that families will manage to get up from their feet and rise from the rubble.
Jessica Postre of the DSWD said each family will either be provided with a pedicab or bangka (boat) as a source of livelihood.
•P50-Million Burial Aid
An initial P50 million will be released by the government to facilitate the swift burial of persons who perished from typhoon “Yolanda” two months ago.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad announced the imminent fund release upon the directives of President Benigno S. Aquino III in a Cabinet meeting on Thursday afternoon. (With reports from Czarina Nicole O. Ong, Genalyn D. Kabiling and Nestor L. Abrematea)
“The initial request from the DOJ (Department of Justice) is for P50 million which will be released this week. The total requirement is about P278 million,” Abad said in a text message to the Manila Bulletin.
The government has drawn flak for the alleged slow burial of thousands of dead typhoon victims several weeks after the onslaught of “Yolanda.” More personnel and equipment were immediately deployed to finish the work of burying the bodies.
Meanwhile, President Aquino has released P2.8 billion to the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) for the massive rehabilitation of the coconut industry in areas devastated by “Yolanda.”
PCA Administrator Euclides Forbes said the amount is just an initial one as they are expecting the release of P3.9 billion for the massive rehabilitation of the damaged coconut trees in Leyte, Samar, Eastern Samar and in other provinces devastated by the Super Typhoon.
“We will be transparent. We will use the amount for the purchase of coconut seedlings to be given to the coconut farmers, fertilizer, and training for the coconut farmers to adopt to the new method of planting coconut trees,” Administrator Forbes said after the ceremonial distribution of checks and seedlings at the PCA regional office in Palo, Leyte, the other day.