DHSUD Oversees Housing Recovery Efforts in Typhoon-Hit Areas

The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) takes part in the government’s recovery and rehabilitation initiatives in typhoon-hit areas through the Build Back Better Task Force. It will lead the Stronger Shelter and Resilient Settlement Committee, supervising the relocation of poor households and the construction of safe evacuation centers.

Partnership with Agencies

According to housing chief Eduardo del Rosario, the department is coordinating with the Office of the Civil Defense for the post-disaster risk assessment. Once they determine the full extent of the damages on the ground, the committee will decide on appropriate rehabilitation efforts.

As the committee lead, DHSUD oversees the following members of the committee: Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), National Housing Authority (NHA), and Land Registration Authority (LRA).

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Local Water Utilities Administration, National Electrification Administration, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) are also members of the committee.

Housing Assistance

DHSUD earlier vowed to provide emergency housing assistance to typhoon Rolly victims through NHA.

In a recent report from CNN Philippines, NHA said that approximately P2.2 billion is necessary to distribute one-time housing cash assistance to affected families. The estimated figure is based on the initial report the agency received.

Given the huge number of victims, the maximum assistance will be at P10,000 instead of the previous P30,000 to cover more people. Those whose homes have been partially damaged will secure P5,000, while those who have totally destroyed properties will receive P10,000.

NHA will follow the list of beneficiaries local government units will submit.

Meanwhile, Pag-IBIG said that they are ready to extend assistance to members affected by Typhoon Rolly through their Calamity Loan Program. There are over 226,000 members who qualify for the loans worth P4.4 billion in total, according to Business Mirror

The agency had set up service desks in storm-hit areas to make services more accessible to members submitting application requirements.

Members who qualify for the calamity loan can borrow up to 80 percent of their total regular savings, which includes their monthly contributions, employers’, and accumulated dividends earned.

Permanent Evacuation Centers

Amid the post-disaster responses of the government, stakeholders reiterate the call to create permanent evacuation centers. 

House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate urged fellow lawmakers to fastrack the passage of House Bill 5259 or the Evacuation Centers Bill, Manila Bulletin reported. The pending law seeks to build evacuation facilities strategically designed to weather typhoons and earthquakes and store goods and equipment essential for supporting evacuees. 

The bill prescribes that the centers be located in between barangays to make it accessible to people seeking shelter during calamities.

Disaster risk reduction experts University of the Philippines Resilience Institute (UPRI) and Agap Banta showed support for the establishment of permanent evacuation centers, emphasizing the importance of including a National Evacuation Center Investment Program (NECIP) in the 2021 budget, Philstar reported.

The experts noted how evacuation centers used in the recent typhoons were affected. Some provincial governments had to reallocate the funding designated initially for the coronavirus testing of evacuees to rehabilitate such facilities. 

Aiming to prevent shortage of funds in the future, the disaster risk reduction experts recommend allocating at least P1 billion every year for the next three years to NECIP.

The budget will enable the building of around 120 permanent evacuation centers in “highly vulnerable local government units,” providing shelter for 13,500 families or 67,500 displaced individuals.

Typhoon-Resilient Homes

Meanwhile, some lawmakers said that disaster risk reduction should involve building stronger homes for vulnerable Filipinos. 

In a Business Mirror report, Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Elizaldy Co urged the government to arrange a five-year Core Shelter Assistance (CSA) program, providing concrete homes that can withstand 380-kilometer-per-hour winds. The cost of construction is around P120,000 to P150,000. Local government units will determine which lands are safe for building.

The priority for the program should be the 4P beneficiaries living near the eastern seaboard of the country and along frequently flooded riverbanks, according to Co.

Aside from protecting families and properties during calamities, the CSA program will reduce government spending on restoring and repairing damaged properties.

Sources: DHSUD, CNN Philippines, Business Mirror, Manila Bulletin, Philstar

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