The country observed the fourth anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda on November 8 but apparently not on a happy note, as the government itself has acknowledged that rebuilding communities affected by the disaster, particularly the provision of permanent housing, left much to be desired.
Malacañang, however, has give assurances that President Duterte would not turn his back on Yolanda victims. Housing czar Eduardo del Rosario and Presidential Assistant Wendel Avisado, in-charge of Yolanda rehabilitation, have been directed to act as point persons in the rebuilding of the Yolanda-ravaged communities.
Duterte visited Yolanda victims in Tacloban City last year and expressed his frustration over the slow-paced housing projects for the supertyphoon survivors. He returned to Tacloban in January but still lamented that not much had been done.
Yolanda, one of the strongest typhoons to ever make landfall, pounded Tacloban City, destroying homes and structures and killing thousands of local residents.
The rehabilitation of the affected communities has been slow and the past administration was widely criticized for its perceived inefficiency.
According to the National Housing Authority (NHA), 205,128 houses were supposed to have been constructed for typhoon survivors. But of the figure, only 11.4 percent were occupied, according to the NHA itself. Only 33 percent have been completed, although it is believed that the real figures are much lower.
While NHA was able to fast track the construction of over 59,679 additional units on top of the 19,330 built by the previous administration in two years, this hasn't been enough. In Tacloban City alone, the city government admits that approximately 6,000 people have yet to be relocated into permanent housing units as of August.
We can understand therefore the frustration felt by the Yolanda victims who held protests in Tacloban City and Catarman, Northern Samar last Wednesday demanding faster government action on construction of permanent housing for them. We hope government can act swiftly on their request for help. After all, it's been four long years since they were rendered homeless.