SunStar - Senate probe sought on alleged overpriced bunkhouses

In The News
10 January 2014

By Virgil B. Lopez | SunStar

sunstar-manilaTWO senators wanted a legislative investigation into the alleged overpricing of bunkhouses meant as temporary shelters for the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), the world’s strongest storm to hit land last year.

In separate resolutions, Senators Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Miriam Defensor Santiago said the probe sought to find corrective measures to ensure the safety and security of those displaced by the disaster, which has claimed nearly 6,200 lives last November 8.

Reports said 203 bunkhouses being developed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Leyte and Eastern Samar allegedly do not comply with internationally recognized standards and best practices.

Some local politicians even supposedly got 30 to 35 percent kickback from contractors.

“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,” said Santiago.

Rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are already looking into the reports even as Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson denied there was overpricing of materials used for the bunkhouses, which are made of galvanized iron sheets, plywood and cement.

Instead, Singson said contractors might not have followed the specifications set by the DPWH.

The size of one bunkhouse has been adjusted to 8.64 square meters (sqm) from 17.28 sqm to accommodate 12 families but noted urban planner Felino Palafox Jr. said this is still small and unfit for human habitation.