Cagayan De Oro City

Cagayan de Oro officials start probe into city hall housing program

Cong Corrales
Cagayan de Oro officials start probe into city hall housing program

HOUSING. Houses in one of the resettlement sites built through the Cagayan de Oro City government's housing program.

Cong Corrales

Cagayan de Oro housing officials field investigators to 74 resettlement sites to check if some city hall workers allocated housing units for themselves or their relatives

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – The Cagayan de Oro City Housing and Urban Development Department (CHUDD) has started an investigation into whether residents residing in housing units meant for those displaced by calamities and government projects are qualified to live there. 

The department has deployed an inventory and audit team to the 74 resettlement sites in the city to investigate reports that city hall workers allocated relocation housing units for themselves or their relatives.

“Their job is to investigate if the residents are qualified to live there. So, there is a mechanism in place,” said lawyer Samuel Rollo, CHUDD manager. 

He stressed the need for a review of the mechanisms of the housing department, pointing out that there are currently no checks and balances in place. 

Without these mechanisms, Rollo said, collusion among CHUDD personnel would always be a possibility because they are the ones who investigate their co-workers, and no one is checking on the department.

“There is socialized housing intended for city hall employees. There are specific qualifications for this,” Rollo said

Two teams have been created to gather evidence on the erring personnel of the department. 

After enough pieces of evidence are gathered, the teams will turn these over to the legal division of the department for filing of graft charges. 

The department has already relieved two staff members, but they should face criminal charges before they are fired, John Paul Barsopia, a city hall consultant on housing, told Rappler on Monday, February 6.

The department was created to address the housing concerns of the city, and it has resettled 12,463 beneficiaries so far, according to CHUDD’s official website. 

CHUDD was established through City Ordinance 13175-2016, as a result of information gathered by the Estate Management Division of the City Planning and Development Office. 

The Estate Management Division created a Local Shelter Plan (LSP) to address the housing needs of the 34,989 identified informal settlers in the city. The individuals responsible for the LSP were then assigned the task of resolving the city’s housing concerns. –

Cong Corrales is an Aries Rufo Journalism fellow.

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