What’s the status of the Yolanda housing projects in Cebu?
CEBU CITY, Philippines – When Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) struck the Visayas a decade ago, it did not spare Cebu.
In particular, the province’s northern towns and cities where thousands – if not millions – suffered the wrath of what was considered one of the strongest storms the earth had seen.
In Cebu, Yolanda left massive destruction in its wake – lives lost, millions displaced, and billions of infrastructure and agriculture damaged.
Years have passed and most, if not all, of the affected areas in northern Cebu have managed to get back on their feet, including families who lost their homes.
As of October 2023, a month before the country will commemorate the 10th anniversary of Yolanda’s devastation, hundreds of displaced families already found new homes but there’s still work left to be done.
CDN Digital has obtained data from the National Housing Authority in Central Visayas (NHA-7) on the latest status of the Yolanda-related housing projects in Cebu. See them below.
Housing Project Sites in Cebu
Only Cebu, particularly the northern portion, was severely affected by Yolanda. As a result, housing projects for families who lost their homes due to the super typhoon were found there.
According to NHA-7, there are 37 housing projects in Cebu.
Of these, 18 have already been completed while 11 were taken under the wing of local government units (LGUs), said Dante Estrobo, officer-in-charge of the Cebu District of NHA-7.
Total Housing Units
The government aimed to build 19,783 housing units in Cebu to provide ‘decent housing’ for the thousands displaced by Yolanda in northern Cebu.
Of this number, more than 4,000 are found in Daanbantayan on the northernmost tip of the island province.
It can be recalled that a few hours after Yolanda pummeled Tacloban City, it made another landfall in Daanbantayan, a first-class municipality with a population of approximately 74,000 in 2010.
As of Oct. 2023
The government spent over P6 billion for the construction of all 19,783 Yolanda houses in northern Cebu.
As of October this year, both the completion and turnover rates have barely breached the 50-percent mark. The completion rate is approximately 59 percent while the turnover rate was still at an estimated 54 percent.
The occupancy rate in houses that have already been turned over was at 90 percent, said Estrobo. Some of the families selected as beneficiaries for the free housing program decided not to reside there, he added.
“For various reasons. We found out that some of them still refused to move into their new homes because it basically meant uprooting them from their former lives. Some said the location (of their new house) is far from where they work and where they make their livelihoods,” explained Estrobo.
Terminated and Pre-Terminated
On the other hand, the government decided to restart five housing projects, which have a combined total of 3,115 units.
NHA-7 has terminated all three housing projects based in Madridejos on Bantayan Island after the developer failed to fulfill its obligations.
“We already terminated the projects, and we will re-bid them. The developer had also been blacklisted,” Estrobo said.
In addition, two housing projects intended for displaced families in Daanbantayan were also set for termination after the developer backed out due to rising costs of construction materials.
“It’s been 10 years since Yolanda and prices of all goods, including those needed to build a house, have risen. The developer admitted they can no longer fund these projects so we agreed to pre-terminate them,” explained Estrobo.
Constructing close to 20,000 houses is by means no easy feat, especially when their occupants need them as soon as possible.
Officials at NHA-7 encountered multiple challenges in implementing them, ranging from land availability to sociocultural factors.
“We never handled a disaster this huge. It’s our first time to encounter something of this scale,” said Estrobo.
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