Nov. 7, 2016
3 years after Yolanda, beneficiaries of NGO shelter program still homeless
Three years after supertyphoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) struck the country, a non-government organization lamented it has not completed its shelter program for 1,500 individuals in Jaro, Leyte due to government bureaucracy.
The Citizens’ Disaster Response Center Foundation, Inc. (CDRC) has sought the help of 16 various government agencies to process its requests for tax exemptions and cancellation of storage fees for shipments of pinewood for its shelter project.
The construction of 300 houses has been suspended, as the CDRC could not get the wood released from the Port of Cebu due to non-issuance of tax/duties exemption and waiver of storage fees.
After ten months, the Office of the President, through Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, issued a memorandum addressed to the Bureau of Customs dated Oct. 17, providing clearance to only one of the three wood shipments for the CDRC.
Suyin Jamoralin, CDRC executive director, said, “While we welcome the President’s action on our plea, we ask him to give clearance to all the wood shipments so that our beneficiaries could finally have roof above their heads. It’s been three years and they remain homeless.”
Jamoralin said their beneficiaries have built makeshift houses made of light materials. Two of the beneficiaries have already died. Children and adults suffer from various ailments due to their miserable living conditions.
Unlike the substandard houses built by government for Yolanda survivors, the CDRC and its partner Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe (DKH), is building typhoon- and earthquake-resistant houses.
During the first phase of the project, the CDRC had already turned over 300 houses to beneficiaries in six barangays of Jaro, Leyte in November last year. Wood donated to construct the houses was exempted from taxes and duties under Presidential Memorandum Order No. 36 in 2014. This was processed through a one-stop-shop (OTS) created by the government for donations to Yolanda survivors.
During the second phase, however, the OTS no longer existed and the CDRC had to process the exemption through the different government departments and agencies concerned. #