BM wants unliquidated funds for calamity-victims housing probed

By Ric Obedencio | 02:25PM November 09, 2022

Provincial ex-officio Board Member Dr. Romulo Cepedoza wanted that the provincial board of Bohol conducts an investigation over the alleged unliquidated funds intended for housing of calamity-stricken victims.

“An investigation is warranted in this instance so to put speculation out,” Cepedoza, president of the Liga ng Mga Barangay (LnB) federation president, told his colleagues in his privilege speech during the Nov. 8 regular session.

Cepedoza was referring to Habitat for Humanity Foundation (HHF) for allegedly unable to liquidate funds from international sources. The foundation was then tasked to build thousands of core houses for 2013 earthquake victims.

“If indeed the reports are true, it is not only alarming but more so, unfortunate. Unfortunate in a sense that we know we badly need funds to build houses and such funds include those coming from international sources.”

Cepedoza said that he was reliably informed that donors are willing to give aid for housing for typhoon and quake victims but they’re barred since the HHF failed to make the necessary liquidation.

These are issues that are hounding in the efforts to rebuild after the super typhoon ‘Odette,’ he added.

Cepedoza’s concern was referred to the social services and good government committees for consideration.

It will be recalled that then Social Welfare Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman replaced Habitat for Humanity Foundation in the construction of core housing units to earthquake victims for it did not deliver.

Habitat, which finished only half of the over 8,000 planned core houses, was replaced by International Organization for Migration (IOM), a Geneva, Switzerland-based organization, to complete the project in the aftermath of the October 15, 2013 quake.

Habitat is the implementer of the project that each house cost P88,000. DSWD provided the bulk of the fund in the amount of P70,000 and the rest is shouldered by the Habitat, Charlie Ayco, then Habitat executive director, said.

In 2014, DSWD then under Soliman turned over to Habitat the first tranche of a check amounting to P317,520,000 during a ceremony in Sagbayan town for quake victims’ core shelter construction. It was not known whether the second tranche of the fund released to the tune of P248,290,000 was really received by the foundation.

DSWD said the government intends to build 8,083 quake victims’ houses funded by the said fund.

During the same occasion in Sagbayan town, signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the municipalities concerned represented by their respective mayors, the provincial government represented by then Gov. Chatto and Habitat as the implementer of the core houses, was done.

The agreement stipulates that the cost of the Core Shelter Assistance per unit was P88,000 for totally damaged house, broken down as follows: P70,000 from the DSWD and the P18,000 from the Habitat may be in the form of cash, labor including volunteers, land for the project, facilities or equipment, administrative cost, communal facilities, such as day care centers and libraries, social services such as medicines, missions, feeding programs.

The cost per housing unit is P88,000 multiplied by total of 8,083 core shelters or P711,304,000, the MOA provides. (rvo)

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