NHA to build houses for Badjaos in Sibutu, Tawi-Tawi

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/12 January) – Some 2,000 Badjaos are set to benefit from a P10 million government housing project in the municipality of Sibutu, Tawi-Tawi.

In a statement Friday, Vice President Jejomar Binay said that the implementation of the project will be a joint effort of the National Housing Authority (NHA), Office of the Southern Cultural Communities-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (OSCC-ARMM) and the Sibutu local government.

Binay chairs the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), of which the NHA is one of its members.

Among those who will benefit from the housing project are the Badjaos staying along the shores of Barangays Nunucan and Mochton in the town of Sibutu, Binay said.

He said that lawyer Chito Cruz, NHA general manager, has already released P5 million of the P10 million funding to Sibutu Mayor Kuyoh Pajiji.

The housing project consists of 100 stilt houses, footbridges and a septic tank to the indigenous peoples’ (IP) community in Tawi-Tawi under the Sibutu Badja Resettlement Program, Binay said.

The 100 stilt houses to be undertaken in five months will be handed by NHA to the local government unit upon completion, and shall be awarded to the IP community in coordination with the OSCC-ARMM.

Binay said the initial fund that was released needs to be liquidated by the Sibutu municipal government, and subsequent releases will be subjected to NHA’s evaluation of the local government unit’s accomplishment reports.

Binay said he hopes the project will be completed immediately as it may give way for more NHA projects in the area.

He said the project implementation will be closely monitored by a local inter-agency committee headed by representatives from the local government, OSCC-ARMM, NHA and the IP community. (MindaNews)