Saturday, September 22, 2018

PNA: Duterte gov’t fights corruption in ‘Yolanda’ housing





Some of the incomplete housing units inside Villa De Tacloban in Cabalawan village, a project supported by the Social Housing Finance Corporation / photo grabbed from PNA



Manila, Philippines – The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte is firm in running after the officials involved in millions of peso anomalies over the implementation of the community mortgage program meant for victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban City.

On Friday, the Social Housing Finance Corp. (SHFC) filed a case before the City Prosecutor's Office.


The charges filed were against the officials of Brigham Estate Home Owners Association due to its failure to remit payments of thousands of housing beneficiaries, representing their monthly amortization.

The housing beneficiaries already had a talk with Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary Lorraine Marie Badoy, who led SHFC activities in Tacloban.

“The President is very concerned with housing projects since it has been five years after the disaster. While we file cases against corrupt officials, we have to work on completing housing projects,” the PCOO official said during the housing site visit.

By next week, charges will be filed against Community Mortgage Program (CMP) community organizer Siony Sia and her cohorts in the SHFC for overpricing of land acquisition, non-remittance of payments, and illegal collection of fees from housing recipients.

“I am shocked because multi-million-peso funds are unaccounted (for). President Rodrigo Duterte wants to punish those behind this corruption activity. We hope to file cases within the year so we can take over these projects and complete these projects within the term of the President,” said SHFC Arnolfo Ricardo Cabling, who is a former Davao City councilor, in a press briefing on Friday night.

Cabling said five SHFC lawyers have been coming to the city to gather evidences and talk to victims.*

“We want to make sure the case is very tight because we really want to serve justice to ‘Yolanda’ victims. Let us fight corruption together as we work to strengthen the project to make houses truly livable, adequate, and inclusive for poor Filipinos,” He said.

Not only the Brigham Estate in Bagacay village will be charged and probed, the SHFC is also investigating six other housing sites, also handled by Mineland Shelter Foundation owned by Sia.

Reportedly, there were about 2,500 beneficiaries in these anomalous housing projects in the city.

As of this report, Sia, whose accreditation as mobilizer has been revoked by SHFC, had earlier denied the allegations, but currently cannot be reached for comment.

Under CMP, the SHFC buys the lot for accredited housing association members – its beneficiaries will pay SHFC in more than two decades or 25 years.

The SHFC raised the loan package from PHP165,000 to PHP250,000 under its loan entitlement. Out of the mentioned amount, PHP100,000 is for lot acquisition, PHP30,000 for site development, and PHP120 for housing materials.

In 25 years, there will be Php474 monthly amortization and an annual interest rate of percent based on the outstanding balance.

Cabling added that SHFC has established measures to strengthen communication between the agency and the communities, through decentralization and streamlining of its processes to expedite shelter assistance to the underprivileged. 



Source: PNA