President Rodrigo R. Duterte said that the government is “ready to spend” approximately PHP46 billion to build at least 300 sturdier houses in the Bicol region in the wake of Tropical Depression Usman.
Duterte made this announcement on Friday during a situation briefing held in Pili, Camarines Sur, after conducting an aerial inspection in the calamity-hit region.
“Ang akin lang (If it were just me) if they would listen to my appeal that we use part of the money for the pressing problems of Bicol. It’s about PHP46 billion,” Duterte said, stressing that he wanted the houses to be more disaster resilient.
“I’m ready to spend the money for — to improve the topography of the place and make it safe for people to build houses,” Duterte said.
He said he will ask Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Chairman Eduardo Del Rosario to initiate the construction of houses in the region.
“If it can be freed and transferred to another department for good use, I said I will ask Ed (Del Rosario) to initiate some — mga houses dito sa napili mo na na lugar (of these houses here in areas) , which you think are safe. Maybe I’ll give you 300 houses,” Duterte said.
Duterte said he wanted the houses to be made of cement and used solely for evacuation purposes.
“It has to be a durable one, semento (cement). But this can only be used for evacuation purposes and to keep the people safe and not to disturb the resumption of the governmental functions that we have, the ministrant schooling and everything,” Duterte said.
He also noted that since Del Rosario is currently busy with the rehabilitation of Marawi City after the ISIS-inspired Maute Group occupied the city on May 23, 2017, the housing chief could order someone to do it for him.
“If you are not so loaded with work in Marawi, you might also want to assign one guy here to do just the observation and for you to go around and suggest what would be the best remedy. You can always contact General Año,” Duterte said.