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GMA News - Miriam, Bongbong want Senate probe on ‘overpriced’ bunkhouses

In The News
9 January 2014

By Andreo Calonzo | GMA News

GMA_onlineSenators Miriam Defensor Santiago and Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Thursday separately filed resolutions calling for a Senate probe on the alleged overpricing of bunkhouses being built for survivors of Typhoon Yolanda.

In Senate Resolution 439, Marcos said the issues being raised concerning the bunkhouses need to be looked at by the Senate committee on public works so that "corrective measures" could be instituted.

“It is crucial to look into these issues to make sure that the victims of Yolanda will no longer be victimized further by corruption and abuses perpetrated by the callous culprits who take advantage of the desolate condition in the affected areas,” Marcos said in a statement Thursday.

Santiago, who filed Senate Resolution 436, meanwhile said that the alleged overpricing needs to be investigated for the sake of local and foreign donors to Yolanda survivors.

“This controversy multiplies the suffering of our countrymen in the typhoon-affected areas, as they faced devastation from a natural disaster and the evils of corruption,” she said in a separate statement.

The Senate is currently on recess, and will resume sessions on January 20. It needs to adopt these resolutions before the congressional inquiry can be called.

On Monday, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, citing information from the group Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM), reported alleged overpricing and substandard work on the construction of temporary shelters for Yolanda survivors.

Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) officials, led by Secretary Rogelio Singson, have denied irregularities in the construction of the bunkhouses. The Cabinet official even offered to resign if any overpricing is proven.

Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo Lacson earlier said that the alleged irregularities in the bunkhouses are being investigated. He added that the supposed anomaly involves at least one politician who reportedly received 30- to 35-percent commissions.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has also formed a team to assist in the probe on the alleged overpricing of the temporary shelters.

Over 1.1 million houses were damaged or destroyed by Yolanda, one of the strongest typhoons to ever make landfall, in early November. Over 6,100 individuals have been confirmed dead due to the super typhoon, based on latest government records.