Tent cities won’t survive typhoons!
Published : Wednesday, June 04, 2014 00:00
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Solon to gov’t: Speed up construction of new houses for Yolanda survivors
HOUSE independent minority bloc leader and Leyte (1st District) Rep. Ferdinand Martin “FM” G. Romualdez yesterday expressed apprehension that Yolanda survivors who remain in bunkhouses and tent cities in Tacloban City will again be in grave danger when typhoons batter the country this rainy season. “The temporary bunkhouses and the tent cities will not survive. In fact there was a fire there (tent city). These highly-combustible shelters such as tents are very flimsy and would be damaged by strong winds and strong rains. This condition is deplorable,” Romualdez said in a press conference.
Romualdez reiterated his appeal to President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to prioritize and expedite the construction of new houses for Yolanda survivors after seven of them were killed in a fire midnight Wednesday of last week at so-called tent cities in Tacloban City.
Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez, one of the leaders of Visayan bloc and chairman of the House committee on housing and urban development, backed the call of Romualdez to address the concerns for shelter of Yolanda survivors and other housing backlogs in the country.
Benitez even asked the government to seek the participation of the United Nations (UN) in its bid to address the housing problem which has continued to worsen in recent years.
“The UN rapporteur can be asked to make an assessment of the same problem confronting the Philippine government right now. We hope to use the feedback as a positive approach in solving the housing backlog,” Benitez said.
Romualdez also scored the failure of the Aquino administration to repair and construct classrooms damaged by Yolanda. The problem is now taking its toll on schoolchildren and teachers, he added.
“They released the funds for the repair only now when they can have done that a long time ago. That’s a knee-jerk reaction,” the Leyte solon.
While he is a supporter of K to12 Basic Education program, Romualdez noted that the government is not prepared to accommodate the students under the scheme.
“Iyung K to 12 program maganda iyan because you are giving students more experience to education, but based on current situation, I don’t think we have the facilities and resources. Meaning the program is not realistic, it is nice but we are not ready,” Romualdez stressed.
Romualdez also appealed to the media to give more focus on the plight of homeless Yolanda survivors seven months after the killer storm pulverized Eastern Visayas. This amid the billions of dollars in donations from the international community and funds allotted by Congress.
As of today, Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez said the city has 317 tents in Barangay 88 alone with 411 affected families.
In Barangay 89-90, he said they have 460 tents with 460 affected families.
The Ocenar family is only one of 460 people still living in tents in Barangay 88.Ryan Ponce Pacpaco