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Prioritize housing units for disaster victims

  • Written by Ryan Ponce Pacpaco
  • Published in Top Stories
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Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez: “Our housing policies should be reassessed in light of the new normal-increased intensity and magnitude of disasters, changing weather patterns, climate change and armed conflict arising from both internal and external threats.” Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez: “Our housing policies should be reassessed in light of the new normal-increased intensity and magnitude of disasters, changing weather patterns, climate change and armed conflict arising from both internal and external threats.”

LEYTE Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez has urged Congress to prioritize and provide more funds for the building of adequate housing units for disaster victims.

Romualdez  lamented that millions of Filipinos have  continued to live in cramped, unsanitary structures in unsafe, and hazardous locations.

She pointed out it is time for Congress to pour more resources to  address the acute housing backlog in the country.

The Leyte lawmaker pointed out that in the wake of manmade  as well as  natural disasters -- the Zamboanga siege, typhoons Sendong, Pablo, Ondoy,  Yolanda, Lando, Onyok, the Bohol earthquake, hundreds of thousands of  Filipinos have been severely affected -- many homes have been damaged or  lost, with residents getting displaced.

“Our housing policies should be reassessed in light of the new  normal -- increased intensity and magnitude of disasters, changing  weather patterns, climate change and armed conflict arising from both  internal and external threats,” Romualdez, wife of former House  Independent Bloc Leader and ex-Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, both  president of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) and  Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD), stressed.

Romualdez proposed that the two chambers of Congress should pass a new  housing code and building code and adopt a comprehensive land use,  zoning and regulation policy.
   
Apart from these, she said, the legislature should pass a measure  seeking to establish a separate department dealing solely with  disaster preparedness and disaster resilience.
   
“Shelter is not simply the provision of a roof over our heads.  Structures must be durable and resettlement sustainable,” said  Romualdez.
   
Equally important, she emphasized, is convenient access to livelihood  and job opportunities, potable water, electricity, transportation,  education, and health services for the vulnerable sectors of society,  including senior citizens, women, children, the sick, and persons with  disabilities (PWDs), among others.
   
“I believe resettlement programs must be holistic and inclusive. The  success and sustainability of any resettlement effort rests not only  in availability of resources and political will, but also in the  cooperation of all stakeholders,” said Romualdez.