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SOLON: PROBE QUAKE-HIT N. COTABATO’S HOUSING WOES

North Cotabato 2nd District Representative Rudy Caoagdan has filed a bill seeking a congressional investigation as to why, despite the national government’s intervention, many earthquake-displaced families in the 2019 calamity remained at evacuation sites in the province.

Caoagdan said he filed Resolution 01-2022 requesting the House Committee on Good Governance to investigate, in aid of legislation, the release of allocation by the national government through the National Housing Authority (NHA) for the establishment of evacuation facilities, housing and relocation sites and construction of houses for the victims of 2019 earthquakes that hit North Cotabato.

The series of quakes that occurred on Oct. 16, 2019, at magnitude 6.3 and two quakes on Oct. 29, 2019, at magnitudes 6.6 and 6.1, respectively; and on Oct. 31, 2019, at magnitude 6.5, had affected more than 100,000 people in the province.

“Many of whom have yet to return to their respective places of origin.”

“Many of whom have yet to return to their respective places of origin,” the legislator said.

The second legislative district of North Cotabato that Caoagdan represents covers Kidapawan City and the towns of Arakan, Antipas, Pres. Roxas, Magpet and Makilala.

The calamity made the majority of the lawmaker’s constituents, including senior citizens, homeless because their houses were destroyed, and were not allowed to return to their communities since these were declared danger zones.

The local government units’ response, like the building of housing units, was not enough due to a lack of budget, thereby prompting the national government, through the NHA, to provide additional funds to help LGUs in addressing the victims’ shelter needs.

“Many if not majority of the evacuees are still living in temporary evacuation sites owned by private individuals for the reason that no relocation sites and housing facilities have been fully established.”

“Notwithstanding the aid, both material and financial, many if not majority of the evacuees are still living in temporary evacuation sites owned by private individuals by reason that no relocation sites and housing facilities have been fully established notwithstanding the release of allocation by the national government through the NHA,” Caoagdan said in his resolution.

Without providing the exact number of persons still in evacuation sites, he said “until now these evacuees have to content themselves with the uncomfortable and hazardous effect of living in temporary evacuation sites since 2019.”

Caoagdan said such undue delays have caused the evacuees to voice their complaints on all platforms available, including those online.

He remains hopeful that the resolution will shed light on the issues raised by his constituents.

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