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The Manila Times - Senators Santiago, Marcos want Yolanda shelter controversy probed

In The News
9 January 2014

By Jefferson Antiporda | The Manila Times

The-Manila-Times-NetTWO senators on Thursday filed their respective resolutions calling for a senate investigation on the reported overpricing and the alleged failure of the contractor to comply with internationally recognized standards on the construction of bunkhouses for the survivors of super typhoon Yolanda.

Senators Miriam Santiago and Ferdinand Marcos Jr., want the proper senate committee to look into the issues surrounding the construction of temporary shelters for typhoon victims and institute corrective measures to ensure the safety and security of those displaced by the said catastrophe.

Santiago in filing Resolution No. 436 said that reported controversy of the construction of bunkhouses multiplies the suffering of typhoon victims who are facing the devastation from a natural disaster and the evils of corruption.

Santiago called for the inquiry to also investigate the potential overpricing and other unscrupulous acts concerning disaster relief operations.

“The national government owes local and international typhoon relief donors transparency and accountability, and therefore must ensure that the typhoon victims should receive relief by observing internationally recognized standards and best practices,” she said.

Marcos cited the observation earlier made by Architect and Urban Planner Felino Palafox, Jr. on the quality of the said bunkhouses, claiming that shelters being built by the government are undersized and substandard based on the international criteria in the construction of temporary shelters, and are, therefore, unfit for human habitation;

He also cite reports alleging that the bunkhouses are overpriced, with the possible collusion between favored contractors and local politicians, and that the contractors might not have followed the specifications set by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

Marcos wants the senate to investigate,, in aid of legislation, the alleged substandard and overpriced bunkhouses built for the typhoon survivors in the Visayas Region, and institute corrective measures to ensure the safety and security of those displaced by the said catastrophe.

Santiago previously filed another resolution seeking to establish protocols and standards for disaster relief operations by local government units in cooperation with non-government organizations, responding to reports that relief operations for the victims of the Visayas earthquake last October have been hampered by alleged politicking by local government officials and political aspirants.