More areas identified for temporary housing in Tacloban

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About 3.5 hectares of land in Tacloban City have been identified for the temporary resettlement of families left homeless by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan)

REBUILDING. Residents rebuild their homes twelve days after Typhoon Yolanda hit the town of Palo, Leyte. Photo by Jake Verzosa

MANILA, Philippines – Over 3.5 hectares of land in Tacloban City have been added to the list of temporary resettlement areas for families left homeless in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

In a statement released on Thursday, November 28, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) identified the following areas:

  • two hectares of a Motocross area along Caibaan road – for 36 bunkhouse units
  • half a hectare at the Children’s Park – for 10 units
  • one hectare at the National Housing Authority area – 18 units

Tacloban Vice Mayor Jerry Yaokasin told Rappler on Thursday that up to 10,000 bunkhouses may be built in the city.

In an earlier interview, Yaokasin said the local government was working on a “master rehabilitation program,” which includes reviewing the city’s zoning schemes and clearing coastal areas of residents, both formal and informal.

On November 28, Yaokasin said the city coucil wants revisions to the city’s comprehesive land use policy and zoning scheme to be finished “as soon as possible.”

He said the national government and international groups are offering help in the rehabilitation of the city, but until they have a new zoning scheme, rehabilitation and housing efforts will happen in trickles. 

“We don’t wanna be a Tacloban, we want to be a Fort Bonifacio,” said Yaokasin, referring to the posh commercial and residential area in Taguig City. The city architect has also been speaking to prominent architect Felino Palafox, Jr’s group for help in the city’s rezoning. 

Some areas that the city government identified as possible temporary housing sites were rejected by the national government because they were undeveloped.

Building bunkhouses in undeveloped land would take longer – about a month – for site development. 

They are running on a tight deadline, said Yaokasin, becase President Benigno Aquino III wants evacuees to move into temporary housing buildings by December 17.

Rebuilding houses

Communication Secretary Sonny Coloma told media on Thursday that the government will also “prioritize the procurement of yero (roofings), pako (nails), coco lumber – basic materials for rebuilding houses.”

Para ‘yung mga may kakayahan na magkumpuni, bibigyan ng mga materials. Other than that, magpapatuloy ng paggawa ng temporary bunkhouses,” he said. (So that those who have the capability to build can start rebuilding, we’ll give them materials. Other than that, the creation of temporary bunkhouses will continue.)

The bunkhouses are good for 2 to 3 months, said Coloma, before evacuees will need to move to permanent housing.

Other areas where bunkhouses will be constructed include Barangay Abucay. Local and national government are also talking to a private owner to acquire 50 hectares of land in Barangay Cabalawan, said Yaokasin. 

The DPWH said the permanent resettlement of families will also be part of the DPWH’s “shelter action plan,” which takes into consideration the Environment and National Resources Department’s “no build zones.”

Earlier, the DPWH said that it would build a total of 116 bunkhouses, which can house 2,784 families. – Bea Cupin/

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