President Rodrigo Duterte stressed on Tuesday how he wanted housing aid for displaced victims of super-typhoon “Yolanda” finished soon.
“Nandito si Leni (Here’s Leni), she’s in charge of housing. Next time you take orders from her…that she’s supposed to finish her job on time,” the president said.
The president had appointed Vice President Leni Robredo as his administration’s housing czar to speed up the construction of shelters for Yolanda victims in Leyte and elsewhere hit by the super-typhoon.
“Hindi tayo pwedeng magbilangan (We can’t count each other’s failures and compare). We are so underdeveloped a country that by the nature of laziness and indolence of some idiots, lalo tuloy tayo nagging (the more we become) double the underdeveloped,” Duterte complained.
Speaking before an audience in Tacloban during the commemoration of Yolanda, the president expressed his disappointment over the turtle-paced progress of the government housing assistance, considering that three years have already gone since Yolanda, said to be the most powerful typhoon to make a landfall and hit Eastern and Central Visayas.
“I came three years ago when this incident happened and I was sad. Hindi ako galit (I’m not mad), I’m not offended. Three years after, iilang tao pa lang ang nakatira sa (only a few, so far, live in) relief houses provided by the government. I don’t want to offend anybody but I’m not satisfied,” Duterte decried in his speech.
“I will be back December. I want this thing completed. Gusto ko makalipat na lahat (I want every typhoon victim transferred to the relief houses by that time). In the fullness of God’s time, I will be back December,” Duterte added.
The president recognized the presence of VP Robredo who is also Housing and Urban Development and Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chief. She was on stage with Duterte during this event together with other government officials and Bong-Bong Marcos, her rival in the last presidential election.
Robredo, for her part, said the HUDCC was considering the Yolanda housing projects would be completed by year 2018. So far, HUDCC claimed that 29,661 housing units have been finished as of September 30 this year. Partially completed are 20,287 units. However, only 4,278 units have so far been occupied.
In view of this, Duterte mentioned his plan to meet with Robredo and some experts from Davao on housing matters that would serve to ease the hardships of Yolanda survivors.
Meanwhile, Secretary Judy Taguiwalo of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) had said how 200,000 victims of Yolanda had not benefited from emergency assistance from the Aquino administration. Sen. Loren Legarda, on the other hand, disclosed how P20.7 billion allocated for housing aid had not been released by the government as of June this year.
Going back on his vow to cut government red-tape, Duterte urged for faster permit processing and how officials and the public should cooperate to avoid delays in the projects.
“Dapat yang Yolanda, one year after tapos na ‘yan lahat (That Yolanda problem should’ve all been finished within a year), so you cut the red tape,” the president said. “‘Di ko malaman san ako mag uumpisa (I don’t know where to start). Is it the rules to protect the money, or the people na ayaw mag trabaho (who don’t want to work)? I must admit the government has fallen short, very short of expectations from the people,” he added.