The Committee on Housing and Urban Development, on Tuesday questioned the downgrading of the materials used for the National Housing Authority’s (NHA) housing project for the residents affected by the 2013 Zamboanga siege.
During the congressional hearing, officials discovered that the wood materials used in the stilt housing in Rio Hondo, Zamboanga were of low quality, but overpriced.
The original contract recommended to use yakal wood in building houses, but the contractors, however used gmelina, acacia and mahogany. The contractors said they were unable to find yakal and opted to purchase a different material.
Committee chair Negros Occidental 3rdDistrict Representative Albee Benitez said that NHA’S move is ‘suspicious’ noting that the price of the wood used in building the houses were cheaper than yakal, but the contract price remained the same.
Meanwhile, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) also confirmed that they suggested using gmelina and mahogany in replacement to yakal and Regional Director Mr. Carlito Tuballa admitted such materials were of low quality and can be easily destroyed by water.
With this, Congressman Edgar Mary Sarmiento called on to the NHA to assure the quality of their housing projects, noting that the funds used by the government came from the Filipino taxes.
Meanwhile, the NHA has already released 50 show cause order for the contractors involved in the housing project, the agency reportedly terminated 20 and were recommended to be blacklisted from government contracts.