Costs, polls delaying completion of houses for Pablo victims, says DSWD

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/11 November) – The rising costs of construction supplies, elections and adverse weather conditions have delayed the completion of houses for displaced survivors of typhoon Pablo until March 2015, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

In an interview at the sidelines of Monday’s Kapehan sa SM, DSWD regional director Priscilla Razon said Davao Oriental Gov. Cora Malanyaon even had to arrange for the transport of two shiploads of supplies from Cebu.

Razon noted that the province suffered from both lack and high costs of construction materials.

The past two elections also contributed to the delay, she said, citing government projects could not be implemented during election periods.

“It will take us a little more time to finish the construction of these houses,” she said.

She added the DSWD aims to hit 80% completion by December this year, with a budget of P1.3 billion already downloaded from the national office to the provinces.

The project aims to build and turn over 19,000 houses to Davao Oriental and another 12,000 in Compostela Valley.

So far, 10,000 houses have been completed in Davao Oriental while 1,600 others were turned over in Compostela Valley.

The modified shelter assistance program, or MSAP, aims to build homes in areas hit hard by Pablo, among them Baganga, Boston and Cateel in Davao Oriental as well as Compostela, Laak, Monkayo, Montevista and New Bataan in Compostela Valley.

The design of the houses depends on the needs of the community, Razon said.

“For example, for indigenous peoples, they are not used to having hollow blocks for walls because they find it hot, so we build homes with a mix of amakan and hollow blocks,” she said.

In Baganga, the houses have been designed for a farming community.

Razon said construction prices were so high that it created a demand for local contractors.

“There are 1,000 local builders from Davao Oriental alone,” she said, adding it contributed to a relatively faster pace of construction despite the delays.

Typhoon Agaton and several low pressure area occurrences in the past two years also contributed to the delays, she said. (MindaNews)